Questions about solar energy? A Saturday tour can get them answered

Hampton Roads Solar Tour offers up-close look at solar energy

Solar panels being installed on a home (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Ruth McElroy Amundsen)
Solar panels being installed on a home (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Ruth McElroy Amundsen)

People and businesses in Hampton Roads who are curious about solar energy will have the opportunity Saturday to learn more and to tour a number of homes and businesses that already rely on the sun for their power.

The Hampton Roads Solar Tour is a small part of a larger national movement that helps people who are curious about solar energy but not familiar with it to get up close and personal with the growing technology.

“The purpose of the solar tour is to showcase local solar installations,” said Ann Creasy, community outreach coordinator for the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Whether someone is looking to install panels or just wanting to learn more, the tour will provide a collaborative, educational space for all.”

It’s also an opportunity for those who take part in the tour to talk with installers and other solar experts, not only about the environmental benefits of solar energy, but the financial benefits as well.

A representative from Solar Services in Virginia Beach offers information during last year's Solar Tour (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Ruth McElroy Amundsen)
A representative from Solar Services in Virginia Beach offers information during last year’s Solar Tour (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Ruth McElroy Amundsen)

Creasy said that, environmental benefits aside, solar is a growing industry and a wise investment that is growing in popularity because of its versatility and reduced carbon footprint.

“After (Hurricane) Florence, residents with coal-fired energy were still without power two weeks after the storm, whereas solar installations were up and running the next day,” she said, citing a CBS News story. “The opportunity to generate power closer to the source of the use is a critical form of energy independence for individuals, and a future we will realize by educating ourselves and our communities about the options we have when it comes to solar power.”

Saturday’s tour will begin at the Unity Renaissance Spiritual Life Center in Chesapeake and run from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. It will feature an educational program where installers and other solar experts will speak and also take questions.

The Sierra Club Virginia Chapter will also be in attendance, offering information on ways to become more involved with the community of people who support and promote solar energy.

At each of the tour locations, home and business owners who went through the entire process of solar installation will be on-hand.

“This means the participants will have the option to learn about each technical and financial aspect of the installation process,” Creasy said. “Participants will get to see buildings that have solar panels and other efficient features throughout Hampton Roads.”

Tour organizers request that participants RSVP to the location they’d like to tour, which can easily be done on the National Solar Tour website.

Below is the list of participating homes and businesses for Saturday’s tours, as well as the times they’ll be open:

  • Unity Renaissance Spiritual Life Center, 1120 Eden Way, Chesapeake, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • 3424 Miars Farm Circle, Chesapeake, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • 5614 Shenandoah Ave., Norfolk, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • 5429 Beckner St., Norfolk, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • 8306 Oceanfront Ave., Virginia Beach, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Solar Services, 877 Seahawk Circle Ste. 101, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • 109 Adams St., Williamsburg, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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