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Solar Energy — The New Gold Rush»

Sunshine is golden - and some might say the next California gold rush

Sunshine is golden - and some might say the next California gold rush. Over the last four years, the amount
of solar energy output in California has grown ten-fold, from a total of 6,652
installed kilowatts (kW) throughout the last decade, to nearly 70,000 from
To showcase the many ways in which solar can be used to make your home and
business more energy efficient, the Northern California Solar Energy
Association (NorCal Solar) today announced its eighth annual Solar Home Tour
on Saturday, October 2. This year, eighty-five homeowners in more than 30
communities throughout Northern California will open their doors to show what
it's like to use renewable energy sources to heat, cool and light their homes,
and to provide construction and renovation tips, techniques and technology
"We think of solar energy as the new 'gold rush' in California," said
Elaine Hebert, president of NorCal Solar. "It makes good economic and
environmental sense to use this clean, low-cost power source, especially in an
area like ours where sunshine is so abundant. By offering consumers a first-
hand look at how their neighbors have successfully incorporated solar and
efficiency into their lives, we hope to generate enthusiasm and inspire action
toward clean renewable energy use."
The Northern California Solar Home Tour is part of the American Solar
Energy Society's national tour which takes place in the fall each year, and is
now in over 800 communities across the country. Last October, more than 30,000
people nationwide toured solar buildings in 45 states, including 2,100 in
Northern California.
Featuring a range of designs, prices and solar applications, each local
tour will showcase different building materials, technologies and techniques.
In addition to the popular solar electric systems -- photovoltaics, or PV for
short -- Solar Home Tour participants can see passive solar designs and
ventilation strategies, in-floor hydronic radiant space heating, solar water
heating, exterior sun control devices, natural daylighting, smart lighting
controls, recycled and sustainable building materials, alternative fuel
vehicles, and in some locations, even solar cooking. In addition to receiving
tour maps and background materials on solar energy, attendees can ask
questions and get tips from homeowners and experts about the comfort and cost
savings of solar living.
For anyone considering building, remodeling, or refinancing a home -- or
for those who just want to consider a clean, economical energy alternative --
the Solar Home Tour will provide valuable insight and answers.