Solar homes, businesses open to the public today

Posted Oct. 03, 2008, at 11 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:18 a.m.

Dozens of solar-powered homes and businesses throughout Maine will be open to the public today as part of a nationwide tour aimed at increasing awareness about solar energy options.

The Maine Solar Energy Association has been organizing the annual day of tours for roughly 15 years. The American Solar Energy Society, which has been running the program nationally for 13 years, said more than 115,000 people visited 5,000 buildings across the country during last year’s event.

The organization said an increasing focus of the tour has been on energy-saving techniques and use of “green” materials during remodeling. The event is intended to help inform the public about ways to incorporate solar systems into buildings.

Richard Komp, president of the Maine Solar Energy Association, said more than 70 home or business owners will open their buildings to the public on Saturday. That is, by far, the largest number of participants in the program’s history, he said.

“It’s a self-guided tour and it’s free,” said Komp, a Jonesport scientist who travels around the world teaching residents of third-world countries how to make photovoltaic systems.

Homes and businesses included on the Maine tours use the sun’s energy in a variety of ways, from simple passive solar systems and hot-water systems to large photovoltaic arrays. Locations are typically open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

For a complete listing of all participating locations, go to www. mainesolar.org.

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