Fred Hansen’s 20 rooftop solar panels help provide electricity to his Sand Springs home, which will be featured on the 2009 National Solar Tour.
ROBERT EVATT Tulsa World Staff Writer
Fred and Rita Hansen get plenty of power from the sun — their Sand Springs home is wired for solar electricity and sports two solar water heaters.
Though it’s a hefty amount of solar equipment, it’s still not enough for the family.
“Wish I had room to put more,” Fred Hansen said.
Their home will be part of Saturday’s 2009 National Solar Tour, which invites people to see first-hand how local homes and businesses incorporate solar energy.
The tour, organized nationally by the American Solar Energy Society and locally by Sun City Solar Energy, is geared toward educating people about the options that are available and how they work, said Pamela Speraw, co-owner of Sun City.
“We want to get all of the United States, particularly the children, to get educated about solar,” she said.
Speraw said a lot of people still have misconceptions about solar power, especially its potential uses.
Fred Hansen said rising energy costs encouraged his family to investigate alternative energy sources three years ago.
“It was the direction the cost of electricity was heading, and the efficiency of solar cells has been improving,” he said.
Hansen said he was also motivated by tax credits for incorporating solar energy, which are still available.
While the efficiency of the solar equipment can vary depending on the weather, Hansen estimates that solar power cuts his energy bill in half when he’s not running the air conditioner or furnace, and by a third when he does.
His solar water heaters, which heat the water by running liquid through solar panels on his roof, gets the water up to scalding temperatures and provides more hot water than his old system.
“I can turn on the washing machine, turn on the dishwasher, fill up the tub and still take a shower without running out now,” Hansen said.
Speraw said the Tulsa event will begin with a 30-minute seminar on various forms of solar power, followed by two separate tours focusing on either commercial or residential solar power.
2009 National Solar Tour
When: 10 a.m. Saturday
Where: Sun City Solar energy Showroom, 6709 e. 81st St., Suite G
What: Brief seminar followed by tours