Thursday, October 7, 2010

Energy Awareness Month

October is Energy Awareness Month and the United States Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program. Look for ways to save energy which saves you money. Other benefits include a cleaner environment, more resources for future use, and less dependence on foreign resources.

Learn more at the Federal Energy Management Program web site.

Here are a few actions that can help save energy:
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the season so the thermostat can be set lower or higher.
  • Open blinds/drapes in the winter to allow to heat rooms but closed is summer.
  • Group errands into one trip to save wear and tear on the vehicle.
  • Use cruise control on interstates with light traffic and set to near the speed limit.
  • Walk or bicycle to destinations to help burn calories and save fossil fuels.
  • When appropriate use muscle power in place of machines to help fight obesity.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

White House Solar Panels

The United States Department of Energy is seeking bids for a 5-15 kilowatt photovoltaic system for the White House. It is hoped the system will produce about 20 megawatts a year to supply power to the facility. "This project reflects President Obama's strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "Deploying solar-energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come."

Learn more from the MarketWatch article.

During George W. Bush's term solar panels were installed to power the White House pool heater and a maintenance building. In the late 1970s, Jimmy Carter had a solar water heating system installed that the next president Ronald Reagan had removed.

Hail to solar power, baby!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

President Address on Clean Energy

President Obama discusses clean energy in the United States. An energy policy that lessens America's dependence on foreign energy sources. The president talks about a company called BrightSource building the largest solar thermal power production plant of its kind in the Mojave Desert of California (near Ivanpah Dry Lake in San Bernardino County). The project will employee around 1,000 people and provide power to 140,000 homes. The plant is slated to produce 370 megawatts. BrightSource currently has about 200 employees mostly in Israel. It has received 1.37 billion dollars in conditional loan guarantee from the United States Department of Energy.

This plant is one of four large plants approved by the California Energy Commission with five more pending approval. If all are brought on-line, 4.3 gigawatts will be generated.

Learn more about this by reading Mercury News story.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sound of the Sun

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has posted an audio file of the sound of the sun. The SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) spacecraft detected changing light waves emitted by the sun using a dopplergraph. The spacecraft was created jointly by ESA and NASA. The sound file was created by the SOHO/MDI (Michelson Doppler Imager) Consortium.

Find an explanation of how the sound was determined and hear it for your self at the NSF website:

After listening to it with the Windows Media Player with the visualization set for scope, it sounds like a tone from a tone generator. The waveforms look very clean.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thanks for Participating!

Louisville Solar Week

A good turnout for the Louisville Solar Tour on Saturday. Thanks to all who visited our local solar-powered homes to learn how photovoltaic (PV) panels and solar hot water systems can help cut electricity bills and reduce reliance on
carbon-based sources of energy. It has been estimated that, within the next 5 to 6 years, 11 million homes across the United States will be solar-powered.

Thanks to everyone who helped put on the Louisville solar events as well those who attended the festivities.

The future is bright, the future is solar!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Congratulations Seneca High School Green Club

Congratulations to the Green Club of Seneca High School of Louisville, Kentucky for winning the Louisville Solar Week 2010 Solar Oven Challenge. They obtained a temperature of 175 degrees F (79 C). This accomplishment they earned $100. They also won the kiloWatt Challenge of producing the most power from a dynamo driven by a bicycle. Again they won another $100.

The environmental club team from DuPont Manual High School were runners-up in both events.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Solar Powered Marshmallow Roaster

Solar roaster on top of grill

This link provides the instructions on building a solar marshmallow roaster. Read the whole page and look at the picture of what a large fresnel lens can do to pennies in 3-4 seconds.

Inside of Solar Roaster
Built September 2010 - Louisville, KY

This can be accomplished with the following materials: fresnel lens magnifier (like this one at, cardboard box, coat hanger, aluminum foil, glue and tape.

On a partly cloudy day, this roaster got a marshmallow to 160 degrees F. In future tests hopefully it will get hotter.

Update: BE CAREFUL WITH SOLAR COOKERS!This one was left unattended and when checked on it a hole had burnt into the cardboard on the side leaving the aluminum foil exposed.