Open houses show off solar

By Ben Delman on September 26, 2017
Art Fovargue explains how solar works at his home.
Art Fovargue explains how solar works at his home.

Solar supporters across Virginia are opening their homes to fellow homeowners who interested to learn how solar works. To date, people who’ve gone solar with VA SUN have hosted almost a dozen open houses, from Arlington to Staunton. These open houses are great opportunities for homeowners who are considering solar to see a solar system in person. They can ask questions about the process of going solar and interact with past solar co-op members from their community.

“Hosting a solar open house was easy and gratifying,” said Kit Johnston. Johnston opened her home last June. “I had so many folks show up, many of them sincerely interested in my solar array, its operation, and the difference it has made in my electric bills!”

Solar open houses enable solar co-op members to share their experiences and to help homeowners who are considering going solar gain a greater level of comfort with the process, hopefully inspiring them to go solar themselves. VA SUN helps makes process easy for the host by helping spread the word about the open house and providing solar fact sheets and other leave behind materials for the attendees.

“Hosting a solar open house was rewarding primarily because those who attended asked questions that showed serious interest,” said Gerald Pyle. Pile and his wife held an open house in April. “We felt the event made a real contribution to furthering adoption of solar power.”

Tours typically last three hours on a weekend day, with attendees learning about system components, the process of going solar, and asking questions of the solar host. Solar hosts are encouraged to have production data printed out for guests to see how solar is saving them money. Some hosts will even have a live readout of their production displayed on a laptop.

VA SUN is partnering with the James Madison University Center for Wind Energy to host the upcoming Harrisonburg-Rockingham Solar Tour. Ten VA SUN co-op members will be hosting open houses. The tour will be held October 21. VA SUN is also planning a late fall series of solar open houses in the Hampton Roads area.

If you are interested in hosting a solar open house yourself, contact Carra Cheslin.