One of the largest solar energy tours takes place right here in Ohio.
Fifty-one counties were represented in this year's Green Energy Ohio Solar Tour. According to the Ohio Energy Resource Division, the majority of sites on this tour have retained more than 1,000 jobs, in addition to creating more than 700 jobs. Three locations in Muskingum County were included in the tour; Zane State College, Blue Rock and Quasar.
"Not only showing off solar energy, but also wind power, bio-mass, and other renewable energy sources in the activities taking place throughout the state of Ohio," explained Zane State Alternative Energy Professor Daniel Durfee.
Enrollment in Zane State's Alternative Energy Program has nearly tripled this year. The program is fairly new, only beginning last year, but already making strides. Zane State took advantage of the weekend tour to not only showcase how they've prepared their students but also show how they've slashed the amount of energy they use every day.
"At Zane State College we're not only teaching students how to install, troubleshoot, maintain solar thermal systems but we've also installed a Solar Thermal Hot Water System in our campus center to actually heat hot water for a portion of our building," said Durfee.
The Solar Thermal Hot Water System is one that can be applied in most homes. Factoring in today's energy prices, the cost to operate the system over its lifetime is about 20 to 40% lower than conventional gas or electric water heaters.