Host of the annual Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair  
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2014 Tours

Mark your calendar for the solar tour!

On October 4, the annual north central Illinois Solar Tour will be held. Seven homes and buildings will be open for visitors who are interested in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Owners will be available to discuss their systems and answer questions.

All but one home, which will be open from 10 am – 2 pm, will be open from 10 am – 3 pm.

The tour is free and open to the public. No advance registration is required. Visitors simply stop at the homes that are of interest to them – one or all.

Sites on this year’s tour, from southeast to northwest, are:

• Bob and Sherry Piros, 4585 S. Chana Rd., Chana, IL (732-7020): large photovoltaic system on barn roof; new house with geothermal heating and cooling; prairie restorations. 10-2 only.

•  Bob and Sonia Vogl, 1230 E. Honey Creek Rd., Oregon, (732-7332):  Hybrid grid connected photovoltaic and wind power system with battery backup; three separate PV installations; stand alone (cabin type) photovoltaic installation. Solar greenhouse and hoop house. Wood heat using wood collected from the property. Woodland and prairie restorations.

•  Kickapoo Nature Center, 1919 N. Limekiln Rd., Oregon (cell only):  Super insulated “one-watt” building built on German Passivhaus principles. Includes earth tube for fresh air intake. Conventional metal roof acts as a solar collector. Concrete floor used as a heat sink.

• David Merrill, 139 Perene, Byron, (234-2530): Hybrid photovoltaic and wind power system with battery backup. PV and wind installer. 12 – 3 only.

• Bruce Roe, 5719 E. Skinner Rd., Stillman Valley (234-8039): Photovoltaic system with 2 installations to test production in relation to time of use: one facing south; one facing east and west. Projects include eliminating wasted kWh, attempts to construct solar panels, and more.

•  Keith and Mary Blackmore, 9024 West Grove Rd., Forreston, (938-3204):  Ground mounted photovoltaic system, super-insulated house, solar heated greenhouse; solar Japanese style outdoor shower.

• Klaus Hoffman, 8232 Pueblo Dr., Rockford, (815-721-4490) Solar hot water using evacuated tubes, provides ~75% of hot water needs, since 2007. Photovoltaics providing more electricity than actually used, now gridtied, started as a backup system more than 10 years ago. Only efficient lighting (mostly LED). Added insulation and modern windows (not yet completed project). Wood heat providing 50% of heating. Rain water collection for plant watering.

The north central Illinois Solar Tour is hosted by the Illinois Renewable Energy Association as a public service. IREA is a non-profit 501©(3) organization.

Follow us on for information on more events.

Sonia Vogl
1230 E. Honey Creek Rd.
Oregon, IL 61061






Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation

The Rock River Times

Clean Line Energy Partners

Kickapoo Nature Conservancy


Ogle County Waste Management

Oregon Park District

Northern Public Radio

Radish Magazine


Byron Forest Preserve


Patchwork Inn