DRI opens facility to public for solar technologies tour


Courtesy photo

Desert Research Institute’s Reno campus is located off of Raggio Parkway. / Courtesy photo

If you’re interested at all in putting renewable energy technology — specifically, solar — on your home (or if you just want to learn more about it), the Desert Research Institute (DRI) and NV Energy are offering a tour of the DRI’s Renewable Energy Display and Deployment (REDD) Facility.

The tour is Saturday, Oct. 4 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the REDD Facility on DRI’s Reno campus. It is open to the public and will have many representatives available to talk about renewable energy technologies and ways to get involved with them. It will be held as an open house, allowing people to come and go as they please. Curt Robbins, REDD principal investigator, and Fayth Ross, REDD K-12 outreach coordinator, will both be in attendance as well as representatives from NV Energy, Sunrise Sustainable Resources Group, Bombard Electric, Sunvelope Solar and Solar Icetec, LLC.

Those in attendance will have the opportunity to have the professionals answers their questions, and can learn about solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and solar air collector systems and how solar thermal collectors can operate forced air heat and air conditioning systems.

NV Energy’s solar heating program manager Tara Lynch believes this tour will help answer the public’s questions about solar technologies, while giving them a hands-on experience. Lynch also believes it will help customers participate in their incentive programs for adding solar technologies to Nevada homes.

“We have thousands of dollars available for costumers to basically sign up for and claim,” Lynch said. “First come, first serve for those incentives. We’re launching this big campaign and hoping that this will be the first opportunity for a lot of those costumers who are looking into these technologies to one, see those technologies in play and two, interface with out program staff to get knowledgeable about participating in the incentive program and claiming some of those incentives.”

NV Energy will have representatives from their RenewableGenerations program, which gives incentives for adding solar to your home, and local contractors to answer technical questions. Both NV Energy’s solar water heating and solar space heating programs are relatively new, with solar water heating starting in 2011 and solar space heating starting earlier this year, and both have incentive programs that are currently open. They also have a solar electric program, which will be taking applications for incentives Nov. 1, 2013. (More information about these programs can be found here.)

Lynch expressed enthusiasm for this weekend’s tour and NV Energy’s ongoing partnership with DRI.

“We’ve now not only got resources [interns] on the research side that we allocate to DRI and help them out with, but also equipment for them to install, monitor and really help get the technology out there in a location that’s accessible to the public,” Lynch said. “We’re excited to bring together our combined forces and outreach abilities to get costumers in there and aware of these technologies, especially with the programs that are available to them. What we’re hoping to do by partnering with them on this is to make costumers aware of the incentives available.”