Solar Solutions
Solar energy - a renewable, nonpolluting source of energy for a sustainable future.

 

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About Us: Background

Drs. Robert and Sonia Vogl are the co-founders of Solar Solutions and the Solar Electric Education Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping educators who are interested in solar electricity share successful ideas with each other and to providing solar electric education materials and curricula to all interested schools.  They have presented numerous workshops at state, national, and international conferences.

They are also founders and officers of the Friends of the Rock River, a grassroots public service and education organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the Rock River Region.  They own a farm and manage prairie, woodland, savanna, and unique landscapes.

They have spent nearly 40 years teaching environmental studies to teachers and students, and, in 1999, retired form Northern Illinois University where they taught courses in environmental quality, natural science and ecology, alternative energy and conservation, leisure studies, research, and interpretation.

After years of working with ecological restoration, rehabilitating degraded landscapes and reintroducing native plants and animals, they became aware of the relationship between NOx, CO2, and invasive alien plants.  Changes in soil chemistry from additional atmospheric nitrogen and warmer temperatures tend to favor invasive species.

One way to help mitigate the disruption of natural habitats is to switch to renewable forms of energy.  In 2000, Bob and Sonia helped found the Illinois Renewable Energy Association, and are now officers.  In March 2001, they sponsored a workshop to encourage individuals and other representatives form schools, municipalities, churches, park districts, and other agencies to install pv on their buildings.

In August 2002, the organization hosted the first annual Illinois Renewable Energy Fair.  Nearly 1500 people attended the educational event, which featured 60 workshops and 50 exhibits.  The second Fair was held in August 2003, and the third Fair was held in August 2004.  The Fair, now an annual event, is recognized as Illinois' premiere renewable energy event.  For more information, visit www.illinoisrenew.org/.

As advocates of clean energy technology, the Vogls decided to install pv on their own home, and during 2001, installed 1.5 kW system on an old outbuilding.  In 2003, they added another 1.6 kW system to another outbuilding.  So far, the installations have worked well, maintaining essential services several times when the grid went down.

If they choose to, they can add additional panels to the system at any time.

The state of Illinois provides rebates for up to 50% of the cost of a home installation.  Check with your state for a similar rebate program.

For more information, contact them at sonia@essex1.com.