Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fairbanks Solar Tour To Showcase Local Energy-Efficient Projects

A local endeavor that is part of a national solar tour is encouraging Fairbanks residents to visit homes and businesses today that are on the forefront of renewable energy use in Alaska.

Thirteen Interior homes and businesses are available to see as part of the 2012 Fairbanks Solar Tour. The local tour coincides with the national 2012 American Solar Tour taking place today across the nation in more than 5,500 buildings in 3,200 communities.

The free, self-guided tours are a way to see a variety of renewable energy systems from professional installations to systems that homeowners have installed, said Karl Kassel, general manager of Arctic Sun, a local company that supports renewable energy systems and building efficiency and that also is spearheading the Fairbanks solar tour.

“The cost of most kinds of energy keeps going up,” Kassel said. “The cost of renewable energy keeps going down. A little more than a year ago, it got significantly cheaper than traditional methods of heating a home.”

Solar panels generally last 50 years, and even in Fairbanks with our arctic conditions, solar energy can have an impact on energy costs, he said. “We actually get a lot of energy throughout the course of the year. It’s usually the cleanest, cheapest and most abundant energy you can use,” Kassel said.

He cited the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District facilities building as one entity that is using solar energy as a means to cut heating costs. The facility at 1300 Minnie St., in the industrial district, is using a type of thin solar panel that looks like wallpaper. It is adhesive and has the advantage of sticking almost anywhere. The thin solar panels are attached to the outside of the building and generate a lot of power because they cover a large space.

“It’s a reasonable deal if you have the room to spread it over a large area,” Kassel said.

National Solar Day started as a grassroots approach encouraging solar energy use and the learning of how to use renewable energy. Originally, it focused on just solar power, but now many tours also incorporate wind and hydroelectric energy sources.

During today’s Fairbanks tour, which lasts from

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., representatives of the homes and business will be on hand to give tours and answer questions. Some of the businesses and homes on the tour include the Clark home, 2482 Chena Hot Springs Road; the Kuhn home, 2060 Amy Dyan Road; the Seifert home, 475 Panorama Drive; the Cummings home, 545 Fideler Road; Spirit of Alaska, 495 Harold Bentley Ave.; the Wickwire home, 2775 Hansen Way; Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, 1850 Hoselton Drive; and the Chlupp home, 2595 Allan Adale Road. A map with the addresses and names of each participating home and business can be found online at www.arcticsun-llc.com.

Source: http://newsminer.com/bookmark/20388608-Fairbanks-Solar-Tour-to-showcase-local-energy-efficient-projects

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