Arrington Roofing in Dallas with its solar array and rooftop garden, is on this year's tour. Photos courtesy of NTREG.

Oct. 3, 2018

Wish someone could shed light on the basics of solar power for you? You’re in luck. The largest renewable energy tour in Texas is hosted right here in North Texas.

Solar curious folks are encouraged to attend the 9th Annual DFW Solar Tour on Saturday, Oct. 13. 

The free self-guided tour is organized by the North Texas Renewable Energy Group, a chapter of the Texas Solar Energy Society. The purpose of the tour is to educate North Texans as to how area businesses, schools, colleges, homeowners and municipal sites are saving money and helping the environment by using solar energy, wind power, energy efficiency and other sustainable technology. 

Solar Car on DFW Solar TourSolar cars built by local high schoolers can be seen at the Plano Environmental Education Center, Irving West Library and the UNT Zero Energy Lab.

Organized under the auspices of American Solar Energy Society, the DFW Solar Tour is the largest renewable energy tour in Texas and third in the country. Every year, organizers aim to make the tour accessible to folks across the Metroplex. This year, 150 volunteers were recruited to fan out across 50 locations, from Denton to Grandview and Weatherford to Garland.

Esther McElfish, tour spokesperson, recommends that before driving to a site to learn about solar firsthand from solar users, that you read their narrative online.  Photos, descriptions and maps can be found on the tour’s user friendly website.

“The tour is a free, family-friendly event,” said McElfish. “Some people may just want to go to one site, whereas, others may be interested in visiting several sites.”    

This year, nine education centers are featured. These education centers will offer a 20-minute Solar 101 Power Point presentation with a Q& A session, bringing attendees up to speed on the solar field and the basics of Solar 101.

TCC Center for Excellence in Energy TechologyThe Tarrant County College South Campus Center for Excellence in Energy Technology includes a variety of renewable features.

Highlights of the tour include several new education centers, including the Tarrant County College South Campus Center for Excellence in Energy Technology in Fort Worth. The LEED Platinum certified building showcases solar, wind and geothermal power.  

Another new stop is the MLK Jr Community Center, near Fair Park, which serves as hub for South Dallas residents to learn the advantages of solar technologies. The nearby Koonce home displays a recently installed solar installation. In addition, the nonprofit Green Careers Dallas, which provides solar installation training to South Dallas residents, will be on hand. 

Caldwell House on DFW Solar TourAlso, new this year, two locations, Axium Solar and the Caldwell house, feature solar powered systems with battery storage.

The Caldwell House in Farmers Branch feature a battery storage unit.

Solar experts and solar users will be present at all sites to answer questions and offer real-world experience.   

Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but some sites have different hours, so be sure to check the website for specific times. The Soulgood vegatarian and vegan food truck will be at the Plano Environmental Education Center from noon to to 2 p.m.

The DFW Solar Tour is a popular event and a finalist for this year’s Green Source DFW Sustainable Leadership Awards.

“Because we are true believers in solar and renewable energy for current and future success in Texas, it is important that we keep doing the DFW Solar Tour annually,” explains McElfish.

Green Source DFW is a media sponsor of the DFW Solar Tour.

Matilda the busMatilda the bus, a solar-powered school bus, which serves as a mobile classroom for the Seed Preschool, will be parked at the Twelve Hills Nature Center.

2018 Annual DFW Solar Tour

About: Free, self-guided tour featuring homes, businesses, schools, municipal buildings using solar power and other renewable energy features. Experts and homeowners will be on hand to answer questions. There will also be classes, demos and fun displays.The Soulgood vegatarian and vegan food truck will be at the Plano Environmental Education Center from noon to to 2 p.m.

Hosted by: North Texas Renewable Energy Group

When: Oct. 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Check individual locations for hours)

Where: 50 sites across North Texas including 9 education centers


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