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THE STORY: How Alaska Solar Tours got Started

Back in 2008, Phil St. John and Andy Baker had read about the National Solar Tour in the magazine Solar Today that is published by American Solar Energy Society (ASES). It looked like a really great way to get folks out to see solar systems working in the Anchorage area, and to get Anchorage on the map as a ground breaker in these technologies. In November of 2008 Andy took a work trip to the Denver area and arranged to meet the Solar Tour National Director Richard Burns at the ASES office in Boulder. Andy told him that they wanted to get Alaska on the national map for solar tour and he told Andy how to do it. Phil and Andy were on the ACAT Board at the time, and the idea was presented to the board as a great solar project for Alaska. The board was excited to help them get the word out. Phil and Andy wanted to have the tour in the spring when folks in Alaska were getting sun again and thinking about solar energy. Since the rest of the states were doing it in October, we would end up being the first city in the USA each year to hold a tour.

When Andy came back to Alaska, he told Phil about the National Solar Tour guidelines and offered to organize the Anchorage Solar Tour. Phil took on the task of organizing tours in Kenai, Homer, Wasilla and Fairbanks starting in May 2009. Each year it has grown and we have been able to tell the story of the tours in both statewide and national news. The Idea of having a solar tour is to connect and inspire those people doing solar in our areas that want to share with others what they have done; and to provide an opportunity for those that want to learn from those that have done it. It is the owners of the property (usually) telling their story of what they did, why, how, and the pros and cons of what they learned from it. It is literally People Helping People.

If you would like to become a part of it all please check out all the great stuff on our webpages and links, and or contact us for further information. As a property owner or volunteer please contact the community coordinator in your area from our ‘Contact Us’ webpage list. And if you would like to join the rest of the public visiting the sites, please read our ‘Etiquette’ pages and find the next available tour to attend in your area on their individual community webpages. And also check out our Virtual Tours on our ‘Media’ menu ‘Tour Videos’ webpage and read our past Newsletters under ‘Home’ menu ‘Newsletters. webpage’ And always, if you have general question you can contact us at info@alaskasolartour.org

Thanks for joining us, and enjoy!

Alaska Solar Tour Statewide Coordinator Team