About the Solar Bus

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What is the Solar Bus?  |  At Festivals  |  At Schools  |  Bus/Engine info  |  Solar Bus Library

What is the Solar Bus?

The Solar Bus is a demonstration and education project created by The Harmony Institute to promote awareness of issues relating to:

  • Biodiesel Fuel
  • Vegetable Oil as Fuel
  • Other Alternative Fuels
  • Solar Energy
  • Energy Conservation
  • Peace, Politics, and the Environment
We believe that the best way to promote something is to DO IT. And if you really want to get people's attention, BIGGER is better.

Too many people don't realize that solar energy actually works. We want to show people, not just tell people, that it does work. That's what the Solar Bus is all about.

The Solar Bus engine, a Cummins 290HP Turbo Diesel, runs on vegetable oil and bio-diesel fuel as much as possible. The electric system is powered by solar photovoltaic panels. You can find the Solar Bus at events and festivals mainly in the Northeast United States. The Solar Bus is also available as a tool for teachers in public schools.

The Solar Bus at Festivals

When the Solar Bus goes to a festival or musical event it is usually set up in the Vending section. When we arrive, we go right to work. The first thing we do is take out the Solar Bus Library and several chairs, so people can sit comfortably and read.

Then, we take out all the free literature. We have dozens of free pamphlets and catalogs about alternative fuels, biodiesel, solar energy, and more.

Once the literature is set up, it's time to set up the demonstrations. First a fan powered by a solar panel. Whenever the sun shines on the panel the fan blows. People really like that one, because they can block the sun with their hand and see how it really works.

We also set up a solar spin toy that works like the fan, but instead of moving air, a colorful reflective toy spins and reflects light in all directions.

Then we get out the solar showers and fill them with water.

Our table has more than just a few books and solar gadets. When we're allowed to sell things, we break out our stickerboard and offer stickers that are educational, fun, and sometimes a little political. You can purchase most of the stickers here online as well.

Inside the bus there is a complete energy system to display. The system includes a solar array, battery, inverter, and meters to show how much energy is being used. The Solar Bus is an educational project, and thus, we welcome people to come on board and see the energy system. While on board, you can even use the laptop computer (powered by solar energy) to view the Solar Bus website and other information.

The Solar Bus Could Visit Your School!

Are you a teacher or principal in the Vermont area who would like the Solar Bus to come and show your students how renewable energy technology really works? Contact us and we'll work with you. Are you a student and you think your teacher might be interested in having the Solar Bus take a visit to your school? Ask them to check out this web site and then contact us.

Solar Bus Library

The Solar Bus Library is always one of the first things we put out when we set up at an event. It contains a variety of books that focus on solar energy, wind power, alternative fuels, alternative building, and the environment. We also keep a selection of other books that are just to stimulate the mind, or simply for fun. Many of our books are out of print. If you have a book that you think belongs in the Solar Bus library, let us know.

A few examples of books we currently have on board:

  • Solar Construction (out of print)
  • Solar Living Sourcebook
  • The Solar Cat Book (out of print)
  • 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Protect the Environment
  • From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank
  • Fuel From Water

  • Scenic Oregon
  • Poems of Robert Frost
  • Works of MC Escher
  • 2003 World Almanac
  • The Way Things Work (out of print)
  • The Complete Book of Self-Hypnosis

    Technical Details of the bus

    Bus Manufacturer Crown
    Year Built 1982
    Engine Cummins 290 Turbo
    Miles 250,000
    Brakes Air
    Transmission 5-Speed Manual
    Length 35 Feet
    Height 11 Feet