Here is a place to store information about the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Milwuakee Solar Tour.

The Wisconsin Tour of Solar Buildings involves people all over Wisconsin who have made real changes in their homes, businesses and lifestyles in an effort to be more energy efficient and to incorporate renewable energy. The tour tries to give other home and business owners a view of these changes and of the people making them to demonstrate that renewable energy and energy efficiency is practical, reliable and affordable in Wisconsin right now. An added bonus is that people curious about systems and what they can do can talk to people who have been living and working with the systems and get a real home and business owners’ perspective on what works well and what they would have done differently.

Should middle and working class Milwaukeeans start saving up to install solar units in their homes?

How big of a system any one person would need to install is directly dependent on how much energy they use. I myself use all the energy saving measures I can and have about 1/3 the energy usage that my mother has – we are both single women who live alone, but I use less energy – my system would have to be much smaller than hers.

The great thing about solar energy is that it is modular. As you save money, you can build your system one part at a time. Let’s say you get a site assessment and learn that you can install some energy saving appliances. You could use the money saved by using the energy saving appliances to finance a sys’tem. Then you would use less energy from the grid and more from your solar system, thereby having more savings – since you wouldn’t be giving it to your utility company – which you could then use to add to your system.

As a side note: with current prices of systems, a solar domestic hot water system may be a more cost effective way for people to start with renewable energy. The payback after state and federal rebates are 5–7 years.

Are there contractors with experience?

There are contractors and site assessors that have been certified by the state and by North America to work on your system! The state program, Focus on Energy, has a list of certified site assessors that can come to your home and determine where the best place for your system would be and make suggestions for energy reduction – which would save you money on your system. There is a group called NABCEP that has a list of certified installers who can install the system. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Certification process is very involved and makes sure that you have people who have been working with systems. To see exactly what a person has to go through to get that certification, you can visit their website at www.nabcep.org – but it is a very involved process.

We’ll start with an interview of Dean Wolff.

(Godsil) Might you tell us how it is that you are the person giving a tour of Milwaukee solar homes as part of a program of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association?

(Wolff)

(Godsil) Should middle and working class Milwaukeeans start saving up to install solar units in their homes? How much money spent for a solar system that yeilds how much per year in energy savings?

(Wolff)

(Godsil) I would fee more comfortable investing in a solar system if I was working with contractors who have lots of experience over the years in solar installations and who could connect me with clients who have used their systems over the years. Are there such people you could introduce us to?

Last edited by Godsil.   Page last modified on October 04, 2006

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