SANTA ROSA – Like the solar industry in the North Bay, the Solar Fair has grown up.
No longer the showcase for a few installers and purveyors of little-known solar-powered products, the 2010 Solar Energy & Efficiency Fair on June 19 has drawn some big sponsors and speakers and promises serious education on solar issues.
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In addition to a presentation by noted "Natural Capitalism" advocate Hunter Lovina, 1,200 property owners in Sonoma County have been personally invited by sponsors Solar Sonoma County and PG&E to attend a workshop designed solely for them.
Dubbed "Solar Leaders Circle," the outreach project aims to educate and assist property owners with solar from feasibility analysis, including tax breaks and rebates, to decision-making and right through the project cycle.
"New solar laws and tax initiatives make the return on investment for commercial property owners more compelling than ever," said Lori Houston, Solar Sonoma County spokeswoman.
The June 19 workshop follows an event held in January at Agilent Technologies, where commercial property owners were urged by all county mayors and supervisors to become solar leaders.
The county is trying to reach a 2011 target of 25 new megawatts of solar and beat a 2015 deadline for 80 percent retrofit of buildings and homes.
All county property owners are invited to the 1:15 p.m. workshop at the Person Auditorium at the Finley Center in Santa Rosa.
Following the workshop, participants will be able to speak directly with dozens of energy-efficiency and solar companies exhibiting at the fair.
There will be presentations and workshops on California's solar incentives, PG&E's energy-efficiency rebate and incentive program and the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program, which offers zero-down financing for solar and energy-efficiency projects in homes and businesses.
In the Green Jobs Zone, job seekers can meet with career counselors and job training providers and find out about current green job opportunities.
Fair visitors who merely want to tip-toe into the solar age might even be able to buy a solar-powered beanie.
To register for the workshop and get more information about the fair and its features, visit www.solarsonomacounty.org or call 707-284-9799.