Solar Puts Out the Welcome Mat

Visitors tour a Solar Decathlon home (Photo: F Delventhal/Flickr)

If you’ve noticed an uptick in the number of solar panels being installed on homes and businesses in your region in the last several years, you’re not alone. The price of solar panels has dropped a whopping 75% in the last five years. By the end of 2013, a solar project will have been installed, on average, every four minutes in the U.S.

It’s one thing to see the statistics. It’s quite another to see solar hard at work in your own community.

EarthShare member organization The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is introducing people around the country to the solar projects generating clean energy in their midst. On Saturday, October 5 they will hold their 18th annual National Solar Tour. Homeowners and businesses in neighborhoods across the country will open their doors and to show what they’ve done to slash utility bills and help cut pollution from power plants.

Want to learn how your neighbors are making use of clean energy? Thinking about going solar yourself? Chances are there’s a solar tour happening near you that can give you the information and inspiration you need to make it happen.


The ASES National Solar Tour is the largest grassroots solar event in the nation, involving about 150,000 participants and 5,000 solar-energy sites nationwide. In 2012, the National Solar Tour drew more than 90,000 people in 38 states to 578 registered Solar Tours. Sites included residential, commercial and municipal properties, appealing to a wide audience.

In addition to highlighting available solar options, an increasing focus of the tour is on energy-saving techniques and sustainability through green building design, energy efficient appliances, and use of green materials during remodeling. Tours also provide helpful, real-world examples of costs and how to save money with federal, state, and local incentives.

“The National Solar Tour offers families an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with friends and neighbors who’re reaping the benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency each and every day,” says actor Ed Begley Jr. “It’s a great way to get an up-close and personal perspective on how easy it can be to live the green life — and how rewarding.”

Get motivated! This is a chance to see affordable and practical technologies in your neighborhood that are solving our nation’s energy problems and reducing our carbon emissions. If you’re considering solar energy, or just want to see what all the buzz is about, visit a business or resident on the National Solar Tour to learn more.

To find a tour near you visit Also see our tips on going solar.


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