Island homes on Solar Tour

Solar-powered homes on the East End of Long Island will be open to the public for free visits on Saturday, October 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of the National Solar Tour & Green Buildings Open House, including at least one on Shelter Island. 

The Shillingburg residence on Shelter Island, one of several Island homes using solar power, features a 5.4 kW solar electric system installed last year that has drastically reduced the owners’ electric bill. “Our 24 panels provide about 90 percent of our normal electric power use,” said Patricia Shillingburg. “Very useful financially, but even more important we feel that we are doing something to help the planet, even if in a small way.”

Back for its second year on the tour is the home of Mike and Cara Loriz, which features a ground-based photovoltaic system and a solar hot water panel.

Approximately 90 homes and buildings on Long Island are included on the tour, organized as part of the national tour by the non-profit Renewable Energy Long Island (RELI). Last year’s tour attracted 140,000 visitors nationwide and has been billed as the largest public renewable energy education event in the world. Tour visitors learn about solar and other forms of clean energy directly from the people in their community using them.

LIPA currently offers substantial cash rebates (up to $35,000) for the installation of solar electric systems. Combined with increased federal income tax credits and state tax credits, these incentives can reduce the cost by two thirds. 

The self-guided tour is free of charge but visitors will need to obtain a free Visitors Pass from RELI. Every visitor will receive a free copy of the Long Island GreenGuide, a 64-page publication with handy information and a green business directory. The Visitors Pass and more information on the tour and clean energy technologies and incentives are available at or by calling (631) 329-8888.