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Touring Solar-Powered Pittsburgh

The Solar Tour includes both residential and business solar installations. (PennFuture)
The Solar Tour includes both residential and business solar installations. (PennFuture)
October 10, 2017

PITTSBURGH – Solar installations will be on display at homes and businesses around Pittsburgh for the seventh annual Pittsburgh Solar Tour this Saturday.

October is Energy Awareness Month, and solar energy is growing rapidly in western Pennsylvania. Going solar is one important way to reduce carbon emissions.

But according to Annie Regan, Western Pennsylvania Outreach Coordinator with the environmental group PennFuture, that's not the only reason a lot of homes and businesses are converting to solar power.

"A lot of people who are on this tour might not have necessarily gone solar due to climate change or environmental reasons," she says. "They're doing it because it's a lower energy bill. It just makes economic sense."

There will be two bus tours of solar homes and businesses, as well as a bike tour, and there's a free mobile app for self-guided tours. Details are available at

Regan says researchers have found that the single most important factor in encouraging people to go solar is peer influence.

"So having the solar tour really gives them an invitation to knock at their neighbor's door and say, 'Hey, I noticed you have this,'" she adds. "'What was the process like? Does it work well for you?' and they can get that first-hand experience."

Right now, Pennsylvania only gets about five-percent of its power from clean, renewable sources including solar.

Regan points out that participating in the Solar Tour is a way to help the public see that solar really is a viable, accessible and economical alternative.

"We want to make sure that people have all the resources and make it easy for them as possible to learn more about it, and to know how to make that next step, that next call about any questions they may have," she explains.

The tour is conducted in conjunction with the American Solar Energy Society's 2017 National Solar Tour.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA