MANISTEE COUNTY â€” On Oct. 5, Manistee residents can gain firsthand experience with renewable energy, when solar homes and businesses across the county open their doors for the Carbon Free Manistee Solar Tour.
The solar tour, hosted by CBS Solar and Iron Fish Distillery, is a free open house event that allows the public to visit designated solar projects in Manistee County where homeowners have installed solar energy systems and made other improvements to make their homes more sustainable.
The local event is part of a nationwide series of solar and clean energy tours, sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and Solar United Neighbors (SUN), throughout the month of October.
â€śThe National Solar Tour inspires people across the country to make sustainable energy choices,â€ť said Carly Rixham, ASES executive director. â€śGoing solar allows people to reduce costs, support energy independence, protect against power outages and reduce carbon emissions.â€ť
Homeowner, Al Frye wanted to do something to reduce his carbon footprint and make his Manistee home more energy efficient.
â€śWe had solar panels installed on our house and became interested in the process,â€ť said Frye. â€śItâ€™s doable. You can make a difference in your own way.â€ť
Fryeâ€™s experience with renewable energy led him to create Carbon Free Manistee with the help of other environmentally conscious residents. The grassroots organization seeks to power the county entirely with renewable resources by 2040.
â€śOur vision is that through education and action we can help create a place where all residents have a better understanding of the dangers of global climate change and work together to create a Manistee County that is powered completely by clean, renewable energy sources,â€ť Frye said in a written statement.
Allen Oâ€™Shea, owner of CBS solar and sponsor of the event, installed many of the solar panels on the tour. Oâ€™Shea said that the tour creates an opportunity to gain insight on the costs, as well as the economic and environmental benefits of going solar.
â€śIf Manistee County went seriously solar like Traverse City, Grand Rapids or Ann Arbor, youâ€™d probably create 125 jobs,â€ť Oâ€™Shea said. â€śSolar installation is the fastest growing industry in the United States at this time.â€ť
According to Oâ€™Shea, renewable resources like solar energy will continue to become more prevalent.
â€śConsumers Energy said they are going to be out of coal by 2040. How are they going to replace it? Theyâ€™re going to replace it with conscious home electronic devices, solar in the home, and big solar and wind farms owned by Consumers,â€ť Oâ€™Shea said. â€śTheyâ€™ve already committed to it.â€ť
The free, self-guided tour includes seven homes and businesses in the Manistee area.
Solar Tour Itinerary
9 a.m. to Noon
â€˘ The home of Al Frye and JeanneÂ Butterfield, 2264 Merkey Road, Manistee;
â€˘ The home of Jon and Tammy Jackoviak, 265 N. Mathisen Road, Manistee;
â€˘ The home of Josh and Nanci Swenson, 11900 Morton Road, Manistee; and
â€˘ The home of Daniel Mydlowski, 725 Skocelas Road, Manistee.
â€˘ Iron Fish Distillery, 14234 Dzuibanek Road, Thomsonville
â€˘ The home of Joel and Shirley Nelson, 11775 Golfview Drive, Bear Lake; and
â€˘ The home of Steve and Rose Fosdick, 5033 Kenny Road, Manistee.
Now in its 24th year, the National Solar Tours have attracted more than 150,000 people in 49 U.S. states and Puerto Rico, according to an ASES report. This is the first year that a solar tour is scheduled in all 50 states.
â€śThe National Solar Tour demonstrates an array of practical and economical solutions available right here, right now,â€ť ASES executive director, Rixham, stated in a press release. â€śIt encourages neighborhood conversations addressing the growing need for clean energy.â€ť
To learn more about solar energy, visit nationalsolartour.org and homeenergy.guide. For more information about the upcoming local solar tour, visit the Carbon Free Manistee facebook event page www.facebook.com/events/376185043070065/