Solar Energy International Launches Free Introduction to Renewable Energy Online Course

Introduction to Renewable Energy is Solar Energy International's NEW free online course for those who wish to learn the basics of renewable energy - including where it is found, how we can harvest it for use in our homes and how it can help ease pressures on the environment. You will not become an expert through this course, but you will get to know renewable energy in its many forms - helping you to decide whether solar, wind or other renewable technologies are right for you. If you've never taken an online course from SEI, this is a great preview into our online course structure and learning experience. We hope this will lower any inhibitions you may have in taking an online course by giving you this free opportunity to experience the SEI Online Campus. This free 10-lesson course includes education on conservation and efficiency, sustainable building, solar thermal, solar electricity, wind power, microhydro power, renewable energy for the developing world, and the economics of renewable energy.

Clean-energy collaboration could enhance U.S.-China relations

Cooperation on clean energy could be a high point in U.S.-China relations leading to benefits for both countries, government and business officials said ahead of a summit between Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama. Disputes between the world's two largest economies and energy consumers over China's wind power subsidies and its slowdown in exports of rare earths minerals, used in everything from wind turbines to cell phones, have dominated headlines in recent months. As China tries to transform its economy from the manufacturing of cheap goods into one developing and distributing sophisticated technologies, such as clean energy, spats over intellectual property rights have already troubled trade relations between the two countries. But pressure on both countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reel in fossil fuel demand may push them to overcome these differences.

New 'green city' for environmentally damaged country

Until now, Abu Dhabi has been known as the quiet powerhouse behind its flashier neighbor, Dubai, bankrolling record-breaking skyscrapers and fantastical island resorts intended to make the United Arab Emirates synonymous with luxury, wealth and success. But now Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, is looking to set a different kind of example. The Masdar development project, due to be completed in 2013, aims to be the world's first carbon-neutral, zero-waste city. Clocking in with a healthy $22-billion price tag, Masdar is to house approximately 1,500 clean-tech companies and 40,000 residents, and support 50,000 commuters. In addition to new technology, the design draws on traditional Arab and Islamic spatial principles to create a natural cooling effect and require less air conditioning. Narrow streets with cantilevered facades are to help maximize shading and reduce glare in order to provide cooler ambient temperatures. These architectural details combined with strategic green space and a renewable-energy-powered public transportation system are intended to minimize energy demand and pollution.

Investors Loved Wind, Solar, Efficiency in 2010

Investors loved the opportunities of the wind and solar sectors and the quick returns of energy-efficiency firms in 2010, according to a U.S. market report (PDF) by Peachtree Capital Advisors. The wind industry had close to $4.8 billion in transaction value in 2010, which included private fund-raising deals, initial public offerings, and mergers and acquisitions. Solar generated a transaction value of $3.2 billion, and energy efficiency, which includes smart grid and LED lighting companies, followed with $2.5 billion. The transaction values run parallel to the cleantech investing numbers for 2010, which found that solar startups continued to draw the most money in venture capital investment last year, while energy-efficiency startups garnered the largest number of deals, according to the Cleantech Group. However, given utility-scale wind is a more matured market, there are fewer investments in next wind technology startups.

Los Angeles gets country's first fully alt-fuel transit fleet

Metro is now the only major transit agency in the U.S. with a fleet run entirely on alternative fuels. Officials say the shift has sharply cut emissions of cancer-causing pollution. After almost two decades of effort to reduce vehicle emissions, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority retired its last diesel bus Wednesday and became the only major transit agency in the nation with a fleet that is totally equipped with alternative-fuel technologies. In an urban area where diesel buses began operating in 1940, the MTA now has 2,221 buses powered by compressed natural gas, as well as one electric bus and six gasoline-electric hybrids. Transit officials estimate that the elimination of diesel engines has reduced the release of cancer-causing particulates from the bus fleet by 80% and greenhouse gases by about 300,000 pounds a day in one of the smoggiest areas of the country. MTA officials say that compressed natural gas buses cost more to buy and maintain than those powered by diesel but that the increased expenses are offset somewhat over the long run by lower fuel costs.

3 Case Studies from Canadian Solar

Canadian Solar Inc. is one of the world's largest solar companies. As a leading vertically integrated provider of ingot, wafer, solar cell, solar module and other solar applications, Canadian Solar designs, manufactures and delivers solar products and solar system solutions for on-grid and off-grid use to customers worldwide.

Alternative Energy Issues in Cameroon

ORGANIZATION FOR INTEGRATED RURAL DEVELOPMENT (ORIRUDEV) is a Service Organization created in 1998 in the Republic of Cameroon. ORIRUDEV has long standing years of working experience in the domain of Rural infrastructures, Environmental Protection and Renewable Energy. ORIRUDEV contributes to improve rural livelihoods through making available, affordable, environmentally sound, basic electricity services from renewable energy (solar, hydro, wind).

Australian Students Break Solar-Powered Land Vehicle Speed Record

According to the company's stats, the Sunswift IV produces about 1200 watts - the same power it takes to run a toaster.

Dear President Obama and House Speaker Boenher

Here are two letters written to President Obama and House Speaker Boehner outlining some common frustrations.

Solar Shutters

The PV Solar Shutter is a perfect fit because it requires no roof space and no large battery banks, and is very easy to install and uninstall. Each unit can purchase its own shutters, have its own power source, and offset usage one window at a time. Even renters can, like any other window covering, take their shutters with them if when they move.

Apple Gets Patent for Solar Powered Gear

The sun may be in your iPhone battery's future. Yesterday, Apple received Patent No. 7,868,582 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for powering electronics partially with solar power. The patent, which was originally filed in 2009, describes a system of using a solar panel for charging different portable devices, including a notebook computer, tablet, phone, or other handheld gadget. It specifically deals with converting the power from a solar panel to meet the power requirements of electronics. The system includes a voltage converter that ensures the available solar power can be converted and used to recharge batteries. The solar panel could either be embedded in the device or be removable, according to the patent. Although Apple has not yet released any solar-powered gadgets, it's clear that the company is interested in letting people use sunlight to charge when they can't get to an AC outlet. It's the fourth patent that Apple has received related to solar power, according to Patently Apple.

Dow to showcase energy-savings at International Builders Show

Dow Chemical Co. is set to showcase its most recent energy-saving innovations at the International Builders' Show in Florida. The company's Building Solutions team will be displaying a range of insulation, air sealing and renewable energy solutions for homeowners. "Building a high performance home starts with sealing the building envelope," said Dale Winger, residential market manager, Dow Building Solutions, in a Jan. 5 news release. He added that the products on display would reflect the growing demand for more energy-efficient homes. Latest developments include a variety of spray polyurethane foam products to reduce air and moisture infiltration causes by gaps and cracks in buildings, as well a selection of rigid foam insulation designed to meet the needs of specific above-grade wall applications. As well as polyurethane and other foam solutions, the company will be showcasing its Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingles, a solar-power product for residential homes expected to be commercially available in the US market by mid-2011. IBS 2011 is one of the largest annual light construction shows in the world and will take place Jan. 12-15 in Orlando, Fla.

Chevrolet Volt wins 2011 North American Car of the Year

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt got another marketing jolt Monday, when it received the North American Car of the Year. The car that runs on electricity for 40 miles (65 kilometers) before a backup gas engine kicks in beat out the Nissan Leaf, another electric, and Hyundai Sonata in the annual ceremony on the first day of media previews for the Detroit auto show. Forty-nine auto journalists from the U.S. and Canada made the picks. The vehicles are judged on innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value. It's the latest in a string of accolades for the Volt, which went on sale in limited markets in December and costs $40,280. It was named the Green Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November and Motor Trend and Automobile Magazine named the Volt the 2011 car of the year the same month. General Motors Co. Vice Chairman Tom Stephens said the Volt "represents the soul" of the new GM, on the rebound after enduring a government-led bankruptcy in 2009. GM sold between 250 and 350 Chevy Volts in December and Nissan's sales totaled less than 10 Leaf sedans in the past two weeks. Production for both is slowly ramping up. It will be well into 2012 before both the Volt and Leaf, which costs $32,780, are available nationwide. Early demand is strong: About 50,000 people already are on waiting lists. The Volts are being assembled in Detroit. GM predicts it will sell 10,000 of them in 2011 and between 35,000 and 45,000 in 2012. By way of comparison, Chevrolet sold 187,250 Malibu sedans in the first 11 months of 2010 with sticker prices that start at $21,975.

'Self-repairing' solar cells described

U.S. researchers say they've produced a new class of solar cells that can repair themselves much like plants do through photosynthesis. By using carbon nanotubes and DNA, scientists at Purdue University have developed solar technology aimed at increasing service life and reducing cost, a university release said Tuesday. "We've created artificial photosystems using optical nanomaterials to harvest solar energy that is converted to electrical power," Jong Hyun Choi, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering, said. Photoelectrochemical cells that convert sunlight into electricity contain light-absorbing dyes called chromophores, similar to chlorophyll molecules in plants, that degrade due to exposure to sunlight. "The critical disadvantage of conventional photoelectrochemical cells is this degradation," Choi said. The new technology gets around this problem in the same way nature does, by continuously replacing the photo-damaged dyes with new ones. "This sort of self-regeneration is done in plants every hour," Choi said.

Renewable Energy Education

Educational programs from colleges, universities and other institutions should be at least compliant with ISPQ Standard 01022. In regions where there is a body licensed to perform accreditation, such as the Interstate Renewable Energy Council in North America.

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Featured Product

LG Solar Unveils NeON R with Enhanced Aesthetics and Energy Savings

LG Solar Unveils NeON R with Enhanced Aesthetics and Energy Savings

The NeON R module features "Back Contact" cell technology delivering an entirely black panel that is aesthetically pleasing and energy efficient. The cell's seamless, surface blends perfectly into nearly all rooftop designs while the module's electrodes are positioned on the rear of the cell. Using LG's N-type cell structure, the panels produce 365W of energy, up to 7.3kWp, compared to 5.8kWp of the p-type cell. The module's new design minimizes LID, thereby delivering a longer lifespan and increased energy output.