Clean Energy Committee hosts bike tour of solar-powered homes

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Enfield - posted Thu., Oct. 17, 2013
Donna Szewczak was interested in learning more about solar energy during the ‘solar tour.’ Photos by Lisa Stone.
Donna Szewczak was interested in learning more about solar energy during the ‘solar tour.’ Photos by Lisa Stone.

Local residents who were curious about solar energy jumped on their bikes for a 14-mile ride on Oct. 5 to tour homes with solar energy. The group started at the Enfield Public Library on Middle Road and ended at the Weymouth Road Fire Station.

The ride was hosted by the Enfield Clean Energy Committee and was led by its acting chairperson, Melissa Everett. “There are approximately two dozen homes in Enfield that are using solar energy,” said Everett. “Solar energy offers many benefits to homeowners. We are setting out to explore those benefits by visiting several host homes that are willing to allow us into their homes and explain what they have done to their houses to make them efficient.”

Jim Staley, of Enfield, is a retired mechanical engineer who went along for the ride and tour. “I am very interested in how solar energy systems have changed over the years,” said Staley. “Having knowledge about the solar cells, I would really like to know what improvements have been made. Since I love to ride my bicycle, this is really great for me.”

Donna Szewczak, a member of the Enfield Board of Education, said, “I am extremely curious about solar energy. I think Americans should save as much energy as possible. Riding our bikes is an even better way to tour the solar homes, rather than driving there. I usually do ride my bike as much as possible, so this is really great for me.”

Dr. Richard Segool read about the solar tour that morning. “When I saw the article in the paper, I knew I would go on the ride,” said Segool. “I have a passive solar home now. We installed a solar energy system when we built our home, but it became obsolete, so we were not able to fix the broken parts. We ended up not being able to use the system. When the system was working, we only went through 600 gallons or less of fuel in one year. We do have large windows that let a lot of sun in, and that helps warm the house. I am looking into modern solar systems as a possibility for heating my home now.”

Will Prior recently installed a solar energy system in his home. “My system has only been installed since this July,” said Prior. “My last electric bill was $16. I was told that was the minimum charge, so who knows how much we really used. So far, I am very happy that we installed the system.”

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