By: Jackie Boat
For the better part of my service term I worked on facilitating two solar furnace installations through my host organization, HACAP. I have sifted through their weatherization clients, completed outreach through energy conservation classes for those receiving energy assistance, and identified three homes for a system! With some luck, my team should be mounting solar panels on walls by early November. This is what I have been waiting for!
Outreach alone is quite a bit of fun, but actually making what you have been talking about for months, takes the cake. You can only talk so much before some doing needs to be done. The recipients of the solar furnace systems seem to be just as excited as me! Not only will this piece of technology save them money on their heating bills this coming winter, but it is also something their neighbors will be curious about. For them, this means bragging rights. For me, it means helping to solidify solar technology’s place in our everyday lives. You cannot deny the efficacy of something that is working right in front of you. Hopefully we will be able to continue to build upon the enthusiasm I have seen so far.
To finally be in the middle of the action of a solar furnace install is going to be a huge accomplishment for me. It is also going to be an opportunity to train others in installation. In particular, those who run weatherization programs and have influence over how government money is spent. The more people trained and invested, the easier future installs will be. Climbing the learning curve and building a solar energy army takes a while, but I am optimistic about the continuation of solar assistance in Iowa. Please wish the RREAL and HACAP teams luck on this endeavor!