The 25th annual National Solar Tour, running Sept. 28 through Oct. 4, will have a different look and feel to it this year.

Workshops through the week and the tours Oct. 3-4 will be virtual. Participants will be able to view solar tour videos online from all across the country, versus in a typical year, the tours were on-site and limited to how far one would travel.

Solar United Neighbors and the American Solar Energy Society put together a week of online programming for anyone interested in learning about solar energy applications. Workshops include electric vehicles, solar electric, solar for businesses, solar for schools and more. The Minnesota Renewable Energy Society also networked with Solar United Neighbors for the solar tour and hosts many virtual sites around Minnesota and Wisconsin. Those interested can register for free at

Balsam Moon, a local site “hosted” by Doug Weiss and Barb Mann, will be participating in the virtual solar tour for the fourth year. Their video tour shows off the many uses of solar energy at their place including a solar furnace, a solar electric array, an electric car, a deep winter solar greenhouse and uses of passive solar.

Weiss went solar initially in 2009 with a solar furnace installed by Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, a local company just north of Pine River.

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“I went solar because I was concerned about the depletion of our fossil fuel resources and the harmful impact of their use on the environment,” Weiss said.