Sept. 29, 2015
Ever think about adding solar panels to your home but still have a lot of questions? Check out the DFW Solar Tour this Saturday, Oct. 3, where you can talk to homeowners and see real-life installations in a variety of homes across the Metroplex.
Now in its sixth year, the DFW Solar Tour hosted by the North Texas Renewable Energy Group will feature 50 tour sites. Not only will event-goers see homes using solar power, but also schools, businesses and municipal facilities such as the city of Cedar Hill’s Government Center, powered by 152 kW solar photovoltaic system and a 4kW wind turbine.
City of Cedar Hill's wind turbine.
The geographical range of the tour reaches across North Texas with Dallas, Tarrant, Parker, Wise, Denton, Collin and Rockwall counties all taking part.
According to Esther McElfish, spokesperson for the tour, the annual event showcases the many ways in which North Texas homeowners and businesses are using not just solar energy, but also wind energy, energy efficiency and other sustainable technologies to save money and consume less of our natural resources.
“It’s fun, free and family-friendly,” said McElfish. “Last year, we had over 600 noted visitors to the various sites, and we are expecting many more this year.”
In addition, folks will be able to check out and drive electric vehicles at numerous homes, schools, Irving Public Library and businesses. Participants can also sign up at dfwsolartour.org to test drive a new Nissan Leaf.
Also, event-goers can get behind the wheel of a Tesla in "Tesla Drive Events," said McElfish. “And they will offer that at our daVinci School tour site.”
Also new this year, a drawing will be given away at Mike Renner’s home in Weatherford. The winner will receive a 90-watt solar panel with charger connector to charge mobile devices and appliances.
“He and his wife are offering a drawing and only those folks who tour the Renner site will have their name entered for a drawing for this prize,” McElfish said.
Renner’s home is a long trek for many but it is considered by NTREG members to be one of the best examples of renewable energy use on the tour.
“Mike and his wife have created a comfortable, practical and totally off-the-grid homestead, that includes a solar system, wind turbine, rainwater harvesting and native landscaping.”
It also includes a mobile solar trailer that has been utilized at many North Texas festivals and events to provide solar power for musicians and sound stages.
A drawing for a 90-watt solar panel with charger connector will be offered at Mike Renner's off the grid home in Weatherford.
And for those who have visited sites in past years, McElfish said there are a variety of new locations this year. Including, Arlington Conservation Council Danny Kocurek’s home adjacent to Veteran’s Park.
“It is one of the few homes on the 2015 Tour with solar hot water and the landscape was filled with native plants, which require no mowing or irrigation,” said Kocurek.
The Kocurek house in Arlingtonfeatures a solar array atop a metal roof.
NTREG is a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization and the DFW Solar Tour is an all-volunteer annual event made possible through the support of not only the volunteers, but also the generous sponsors.
“The unique aspect of the tour is seeing various systems in action and talking with owners who can offer their real world experiences without a sales pitch,” McElfish said.
Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but check individual sites for location hours. See more at dfwsolartour.org.