SolWest Renewable Energy Fair July 25-27 in Oregon

SolWest Fair July 25-27 in John Day, Oregon features keynote speaker Greg Pahl, 50 free workshops and three extended pre-fair workshops: Hands-on Installation, "Small Wind Power for Homes, Farms, Business, and Schools," and "Building a High Performance Home."

Preparations are underway for SolWest Fair's big 10th anniversary celebration July 25-27 at the Grant County Fairgrounds in John Day, Oregon. Here's a preview of some of the speakers and happenings being planned:

Greg Pahl, author of "The Citizen Powered Energy Handbook," will provide the keynote address about an exciting and rapidly growing new movement, "Community Supported Renewable Energy." A time-tested and highly successful strategy in Europe, community or cooperative ownership of local renewable energy projects is finally gaining momentum in North America. It's an idea whose time has come, especially in light of the increasing price volatility in the fossil fuel markets, concerns about energy supplies, ongoing controversy about commercial-scale wind farms in some locations, and growing alarm about global warming. Topics to be covered include examples of successful initiatives, and the many advantages of community-based energy, as well as some of the obstacles that stand in the way of achieving greater community control of energy resources.

Last year SolWest hosted 56 exhibitors and 2,400 participants. It's expected many exhibitors will again bring the hands-on and interactive displays which kept so many viewers engaged in 2007. Solar hot water, wind and solar electricity will again be produced by working systems on the fairgrounds. Saturday is always family day at SolWest, and the presenters are planning new and exciting activities for children of all ages.

As usual, SolWest will have over 50 workshops for young, old, technically-knowledgeable and renewable newbies. Workshops will cover the hardware, skills, and philosophy of sustainable living. Workshops already scheduled include solar measurement and data logging, solar cooking, solar hot water, electric vehicle options, passive solar homes, and solar water pumping choices. All regular SolWest workshops are free with fair entry.

In addition to the regular 1-hour workshops, there will be three extended pre-fair workshop for which advance signup is required: a three-day Hands-on Installation Workshop July 22-24 will install a 2-kW utility-intertied, battery-backup, solar electric system. The "Small Wind Power for Homes, Farms, Business, and Schools" workshop July 24-25 will provide an overview of wind power with an emphasis on small wind turbine applications. Christopher Dymond of the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) will present "Building a High Performance Home" on July 25. He'll cover the technical requirements and financial incentives associated with building a home to Oregon's new High Performance Home Tax Credit (up to $12,000).

For more details, or to sign up for the workshops and the SolWest mailing list, call 541-575-3633 or email

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