35 years living off the grid has taught Whitehall man a thing or two about solar energy

Thirty-five years ago, when there was no internet or YouTube channel to search for information, Chris Borton and Linda Welsh decided to go off the grid. Everything they learned came from studying books and going to libraries.

“Off the grid” is a phrase meaning they weren’t utilizing electrical lines at the home they built in the hills west of Whitehall.

“This has all been done before,” Borton noted. “I merely collected all of the information and customized it.”

On Saturday, he will share some of his knowledge acquired over the past 35 years in a 1 p.m. talk. Borton is one of 13 presenters at the 12th annual Montana Clean Energy Fair. Topics covered will range from solar electric basics and water heaters to information on funding a rural Montana clean energy project.

The free fair is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Montana State University Billings campus. In addition to the more serious topics for adults, the fair will offer children’s activities like a bouncy castle and cooking with a solar oven, to recycled art projects and the opportunity to build model cars powered by the sun.

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