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Region Participates in National Solar Tour

Across the nation this weekend [Saturday-Monday, Oct. 6-8, 2018] some 700 home owners and organizations, including in the WMRA listening region, are sharing their love of solar energy. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

The National Solar Tour invites interested people to visit sites tapping into solar energy, said Aaron Sutch, the Virginia program director for one of the tour sponsors, Solar United Neighbors.

AARON SUTCH: People in Virginia, once they go solar, they’re really apt to want to share their experience, what they learned, give some first-hand advice about installations or what they’ve done.

The 70 participants in Virginia include about 20 sites with open-house hours in and around the Shenandoah Valley. One is the sustainable living center and urban farm Vine & Fig in Harrisonburg. Its co-director is Tom Benevento:

TOM BENEVENTO: The Sun is really such a beautiful gift. There’s really no need to be digging down under the earth. The Sun is around us, and it’s free for the taking.

Many tour sites highlight solar panel technologies, but Vine & Fig’s solar system is multifaceted.

BENEVENTO: We have solar electric panels, photovoltaics. We also have solar greenhouses. We have a system where we’re catching sunlight on a stone wall and reflecting off a pond to create a microclimate that’s warmer, and we also have fuel fences that capture solar energy and then store that in the lignin of the wood that we can use to heat our houses.

RSVPs are requested for the National Solar Tour.

Click here for more information about JMU's Sustainable Energy Fair on Sunday, Oct. 7.

Christopher Clymer Kurtz was a freelance journalist for WMRA from 2015 - 2019.