Billed as “the largest grassroots solar, renewable energy, and sustainable living event in the nation,” the National Solar Tour is a collection of solar open houses and local solar tours around the country on October 6 & 7 in 2018. 725 homes across the country participated in 2018, with 45 participating homes and other sites right here in Minnesota.
A CERTs member was able to visit a participating home in Falcon Heights. Roger Aiken gave a tour of the inside and outside of his home and was informative and ecstatic to be introducing household sustainable technology. On the roof, the Aiken’s have 15 solar panels that generate approximately 4.4 kW. “Each panel will produce about a kilowatt per hour,” noted Roger. “Whenever we make any excess, our energy provider buys off that extra energy and we can either pay for some back on a bad day or let them keep the energy. Our electricity bills have not surpassed $5 a month since.”
The panels only took two days to install, not that Roger is a stranger to solar installations: He and his wife also own a solar thermal system to heat their water. “It has been in operation now for 35 years and has paid for itself twice over during that time. It has required one major repair involving the pumps. Otherwise it has operated flawlessly.”
Asked “why solar?” Roger noted “my main reason is not an economic one. My main reason is an environmental one. I believe that we as responsible human beings should be concerned with looking after and caring for the planet God has given us.”