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Students host weekend solar energy fair

Though solar energy has been around for decades, only in recent years have governments and businesses started to catch on as the technology continues to advance. 

Students and the Tampa community can see what the buzz is about Saturday morning at the Solar Energy Fair held at the USF College of Engineering.

Organized by USF’s chapter of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), the event aims to showcase and explain the current state of the solar industry, as well as the laws affecting it. 

Guest speakers, such as USF researchers and local politicians, will hold talks and panels throughout the day to discuss economics, future possibilities and how to get politically active.

Guests will be able to visit the FLeX House, a model of an energy-neutral home built on campus, and watch electric cars and motorcycle displays.

A number of vendors will be present, selling contracts to install solar technology into residential homes. The vendors advertise that solar systems pay for itself when considering money saved, whether from the electric bill or from tax rebates.

ISES Vice President Ashley MacMeeken said people should attend the event to learn how solar technology has evolved.

“Solar is nothing new — it has been around since the 70s,” she said. “People have these old ideas that solar is not efficient or not affordable, but so much has changed. It’s more efficient now, it is more affordable and we want people to be aware of this.”

Registration starts at 9 a.m. and the event begins at 10 a.m. Tickets are free and the event is open to the public. There will also be free lunch and giveaways.