On Saturday, upwards of 700 people gathered under a cloudy September sky in the vicinity of Anchor Park, Pioneer Park and the Lewis and Clark Library for the seventh Annual Montana Clean Energy Fair. This annual event is put on by the Montana Renewable Energy Association (MREA), and this was the second year the free event was held in Helena.
According to Christopher Borton, fair coordinator and MREA board member, the initial idea for the Montana Clean Energy Fair was driven by a desire to educate the public on clean energy and the options available to them in Montana. Having the event be a fun, educational and family-friendly fair seemed like the best idea. The fair is a traveling event and has been held in Butte, Missoula and Helena so far.
The Montana Clean Energy Fair kicked off on Friday with a Battery Based Inverter Training Workshop presented by Lones Tuss of Outback Power. The workshop focused on Outback Power Systems battery-based inverter technology, along with balance of system components, web-based monitoring and its new grid-tied three phase inverter product.
The main fair event began Saturday morning with the third annual Helena Sun Run — an event that raises money for installing solar panels on nonprofits and public buildings in Helena. The 5K run, 1-mile walk or bicycle parade began at 9 a.m. at Anchor Park. This year’s run aimed at raising funds to install a solar system at Carroll College.
As runners finished their final leg of the race, people began milling about taking in the clean energy vendors and workshops. The 13 workshops featured throughout the day covered a variety of topics including solar, wind, alternative fuel vehicles, energy efficiency and other clean energy technologies.
“There was a good balance between different perspectives,” said Andrew Valainis, executive director for MREA.
One of the…