Germany is a leader globally in solar being the number one harvester of solar energy in the world. This is even with a less than ideal solar resource. Here in North Dakota, many people think we have a poor solar resource since we live in a cold climate, but in actuality we have a good solar resource that is comparable to Houston, Texas and Tallahassee, Florida (see below).
Jason Schaefer, the 401(e) Home Energy Service coordinator, is in Germany on a McCloy Fellowship. One stop on Jason Schaefers itinerary was a German solar company called Grammar Solar. Unfortunately, the trip fell through, but here is some information on Grammar Solar anyway. Grammar Solar provides several solar technologies, but is known for solar air heat collectors and have been working in that field for 30 years. Their product TwinSolar provides SolarVentilation and provides fresh clean air, reduces dampness and mold, and is fully automatic.
Here in North Dakota, 401(e) has an ongoing relationship with Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL). RREAL is a Minnesota solar company that installs various solar technologies and a manufacturer of solar air heat collectors called Solar Powered Furnaces (SPF’s). RREAL and 401(e) has worked on projects together and just recently installed solar air heat on two house’s together in the Grand Forks area. Check out RREAL’s website and Facebook for more information on solar and to learn what they are up to.
Of course, before thinking about putting solar air heat on your home it is important to have your home weatherized. After all, the cheapest unit of energy is the one you do not have to use. Ways to have your home weatherized is by adding insulation, air sealing, weather-stripping, and much more. Check out the the conservation pyramid below, it was created by Minnesota Power and it shows the different levels of energy efficiency. As you can see, renewable energy is at the top so there are plenty of other energy efficiency options to look at before going solar.
For more information on weatherization and to learn more ways to weatherize your home, go to 401(e)’s website.