The Solar Side of Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Solar Side.... what side do we mean? If it's winter study your south side .... if it's summer, study the east and the west. Any time of year, take a look at what local folks are doing...or link to resources beyond these mountains.
For every human habitat that has a solar side, there is someone with an opinion of what works and what doesn't ... that person may be just over the next ridge from you. We'll try to link up for neighborly dialogue in WNC and far away.

Table of Contents

Solar Calendar

In April 96 the national meeting of American Solar Energy Society came to Asheville. That was a rare "local" event thanks to the host efforts of the NC Solar Energy Association. There are occasional local lecture meetings sponsored by the NC Solar Center and the NC Extension office... we'll post them along with any impromtu local event that someone discovers or can dream up. The NC Solar center .... is your best gateway to workshops, lectures, tours in the region.

Sunshine in WNC

Local Resources and solar groups

Solar Communities is a program initiated by the NC Solar Center in conjuntion with NC Cooperative Extension Offices. This program has organized annual Solar Home Tours in recent years in counties such as Buncombe and Guilford. The Buncombe group was very active in supporting local events and solar tours during the 96 National ASES Solar Energy Conference held in Asheville. This points to a possibility that a solar re-organization could be initiated in early fall 96 ...possibly with affilition to the NC Solar Energy Association. In the meanwhile a contact for the group that has been Solar Communities is Bruce Johnson at 274-3922.

Through the NC Cooperative Extension Offices every county has a Family and Consumer Education Agent and some of these have focused on Solar education in conjunction with the NC Solar Center and the Solar Communities program. The focus varies from county to county agency and the Buncombe County Extension office is currently changing to an emphasis on energy conservation and indoor air quality. Mary McGlauflin at the Buncombe office continues to be a contact for solar information at 255-5522.

Warren Wilson College has had a program in appropriate technology with an emphasis on simple systems for both the 3rd world and your backyard... during the school year a student interest group has met weekly on the topic. Recently students completed a solar panel test platform adjacent to a telapia tank which requires some heating, besides the existing collectors, there is space for temporarily mounting and testing other flat plate collectors. Do you have a solar hot water collector needing testing?

Local Solar Businesses/Services

Before you click over to business services let's say we are glad that there are businesses trying to help you capture the sun's energy and we want to list everyone who works at it. It is fair to say that each has a better chance of succeeding for you than a rainmaker could... but each business represents itself directly when you contact that business.This web site lists businesses without recommending them. If you know of a solar business too busy to be browsing through our local web... help that sunmaker have a look at this web site and be listed. Each business should describe itself in a brief paragraph..and send this by regular mail to the contact address below.

Beyond These Mountains

At the current page posting the best links to far solar places are via the NC Solar Center which is based at the Solar House at NC State Univ. Besides the helpful staff there are engineering grad students who can provide reference information. Their web site has an extensive file of agency addresses and the center is posting a comprehensive study of the variations of state government incentives for solar energy. Phone 1 800 33NC SUN Email... ... NC Solar Center..Box 7401.. NC State Un.. Raleigh NC 27695

Solar Incentives and Policy

North Carolina is fortunate to have a tax credit incentive for putting solar systems into use.. this existed in the early 1980's and was reenacted in 1986; only 16 states do not have such incentives. This is just one of the ways in which NC is an economic community that can reduce exported dollars imported fuel. To read the report on state solar incentives go to the NC Solar Center

For more info on the tax credit contact a local office of the NC Dept. of Revenue office (in Asheville 251 6163). There are specific structural guidelines for qualifying for the credit. For the passive solar qualification the ratio of south facing glass to windows in all other walls is important.

Solar Book Reviews

A reviewof Super Insulated Houses and Double Envelope Houses by William Shurcliff.. the author is a Harvard professor who pragmatically examines the value systems of saving energy in tandem with collecting it.

Solar Solutions

The solar solutions link is aimed to present both completed or evolving designs that reside in WNC..along with a current owner. This is an attempt to locate persons who have tried a system and who may not be designated for a formal solar home tour. If you are ready to "do something" hopefully there is someone who can share an experience in the same solar category at a time when you "need to know". The link to real live case studies passes through the a Solutions Page that combines discussion,case studies, and opinion.

Contact for Content ...send your words

Here is some contact info:

Rusty Maynard in Asheville, NC has outlined this web page such as it is... if there is anyone in Western NC who would like to help expand it and find more local energy examples in the manner of a roving reporter-please contact Rusty. Perhaps on-page links for e-mail can be added.... until then e-mail off the page to

Since some folks may visit this page as computer guests (sans email) and some may need to send postal notes here's the address ... Rusty Maynard, 12 Lookout East, Asheville,NC 28805.

What can you add to the "content" of this local page for solar folks??
The contents can be amended to any of your suggestions. Rusty would like to see some other "book reports" and anecdotes about any solar design that you have tried or seen. If you want to post descriptions of a solar setup...write it up and we'll find a place for your thoughts thru the solutions page. The Table of Contents T of C as you see it is just for starting...if you want to see other categories then say so ...have you got a solar poem?....send it, we'll make a place for it!