Once a year solar owners across the US come together and allow the public to tour their homes, businesses and solar and energy efficient buildings. That time is now. And this year there’s an added bonus, a sweepstakes with nearly $4,000 in prizes!
While officially the National Solar Tour takes place on Oct. 6, 2012, depending on where people live in the U.S. (and actually across the world), the tour could be taking place on a different day. Either way, as an added incentive for attending a local tour participants can register for the National Solar Tour Sweepstakes as part of the 17th annual National Solar Tour. The grand prize of the sweepstakes is a $2,500 gift certificate to a home improvement store. Second prize is a $1,000 gift certificate. And three, third place prizes will consist of Goal Zero Guide Plus solar-powered mobile battery charging kits, according to the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), which puts on the annual event. To enter into the contest people can go to the ASES site here or by scanning QR codes in the tour.
The tour is an opportunity for people interested in going solar to check out how others in their community have done it. And homeowners and installers are on hand to discuss the installation process, how the system or systems work (some homes or buildings have additional renewable energy features like solar hot water, heating and cooling, wind, geothermal heating and cooling, superinsulation or other features) that make the buildings stand out and more sustainable.
The tour has grown in size and popularity each year. “More than 5,000 building owners open their doors for the tour this fall, in nearly every state and in every climate, from the sunny Southwest to the snowy Northeast,” said David Hill, chair of ASES’ Board of Directors. “We expect more than 160,000 people to tour the open-house buildings this fall. Tour visitors have dedicated the better part of a Saturday to see what their neighbors are doing with solar power.”
This year over 3,200 communities will host solar tours. Some started as early as Sept. 22, but the majority will occur this and next weekend. For instance, the Denver Area Sustainable Living Tour and the 2012 Coconino County Sustainable Building and Water Conservation Tour take place this Saturday. Meanwhile the Green Energy Ohio Tour runs from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7, as do some others. If you’re interested in participating in a local tour, you can see where a tour is happening near you by clicking here.