Editor's Note: This is the first in a series. Click here for more articles about the National Solar Tour.
As Americans turn their attention from the international arena of the Olympics to their own respective worlds, they're looking at unprecedented fuel prices, falling home values, outrageous utility bills and one big Chinese case-in-point as to what the unchecked burning of fossil fuels can do to air quality.
But here in the U.S., there's something sweet in the air. That something is manifested in the palpable energy surrounding renewables: clean, natural, virtually-limitless sources of energy that can be harnessed to power our homes, heat our water and cool our schools, museums and businesses -- without the fallout of carbon-belching coal plants or fossil fuel-fed power plants.
That energy includes wind, hydroelectric power and the orb that delivers enough power to the Earth each hour to meet the energy needs for all of humanity for an entire year -- our sun.
The shining star of renewables, solar energy is at last finding widespread adoption here in the U.S., thanks to savvy leadership, federal tax credits, state incentives, technology advancement, caring consumers and frankly, the economic and environmental rewards that come with renewable energy choices.
National polls continue to demonstrate that rising energy costs is the No. 1 issue Americans believe most personally affects them.
To help Americans combat runaway energy prices, stunning utility bills and falling home values, the non-profit American Solar Energy Society is hosting the largest annual solar event in the history of the United States: its 13th Annual National Solar Tour, where businesses, public agencies and homeowners who've gone solar open their doors to friends and associates interested in learning the costs and benefits of going solar.
The tour is slated for the first two weeks of October. Last year, 115,000 people in 46 U.S. states participated.
Beginning next Tuesday and running each week through October 17, TheDailyGreen.com will offer its readers a sneak peek at the cross-section of solar-powered homes participating in the tour -- and the people behind them. These homes represent a variety of solar technologies on architecturally-diverse homes representing Americans from coast to coast; folks whose motivation for going solar may surprise you.
It's not too late to get involved. This year, thousands of individuals representing 44 states and Puerto Rico are currently hosting tours.
Participants from Mississippi, West Virginia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho and Wyoming are needed to make this a 50-state solar soiree.
Log on next Tuesday to see our first profile in the "Who's Going Solar Now?" series.
To learn how to organize a tour -- or to become a part of a tour already planned for your community -- visit www.nationalsolartour.org.
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