photo by CCRES
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources
News and Events October 04, 2012
The Energy Department on October 1 announced a free online training program for building and electrical code officials who perform inspections for residential photovoltaic (PV) solar energy installations. This training program will help establish a consistent and streamlined PV inspection process in jurisdictions throughout the country, saving time and reducing costs for consumers.
The Photovoltaic Online Training (PVOT) program is a learning tool that uses video and photographs to illustrate correct techniques for safe solar installations that comply with all relevant building and electrical codes. It includes seven online modules, providing lessons in subjects such as roof and ground-mounted PV arrays, electrical requirements, equipment ratings, and expedited permitting. The first six lessons contain sequential material while the final module provides a virtual walk along a roofline, similar to what an inspector sees in a real-world situation. The PVOT program tracks each participant’s progress and test scores, and meets professional licensing requirements for ongoing education in most cities and states. The curriculum complies with current National Electrical Code requirements and industry standards, which are referenced throughout the modules.
Although the program is geared to code officials, it is also appropriate for solar installers, architects, students, and consumers who are interested in this growing field. While participation in the course is free, there is a nominal fee for obtaining continuing education units through the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). The Interstate Renewable Energy Council developed the PVOT program for the Energy Department as part of its SunShot Initiative’s Solar Instructor Training Network, which aims to strengthen the quality and capacity of solar PV professional training across the country. See the Energy Department’s Progress Alert.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on September 26 approved construction of the transmission line for First Solar’s Campo Verde Solar energy project, which will cross public lands southwest of El Centro in Southern California. The 139-megawatt solar energy project is expected to support more than 250 construction and operation jobs. At full capacity, the Campo Verde facility will produce enough electricity to power 41,700 homes.
Electricity from the Campo Verde photovoltaic plant will be transmitted to San Diego Gas and Electric Company’s Imperial Valley Substation. The Campo Verde facility is located on about 1,443 acres of privately-owned land. DOI approved the right-of-way for the power line to cross 17 acres of public land. See the DOI press release.
The Energy Department on October 2 announced that registration is now open for the 2013 National Science Bowl. This marks the beginning of the 23rd year of the nation’s largest science competition, which is sponsored by the Energy Department’s Office of Science. Local middle school and high school students form teams that compete in regional competitions. The winning teams from the regional competitions then advance to the National Science Bowl competition in Washington, D.C., next spring.
Designed to encourage students to excel in science and math and to pursue careers in those fields, the National Science Bowl brings together thousands of students from across the country to compete on a range of science disciplines in a fast-paced, Jeopardy-style format. In 2013, there will be a new high school regional competition in Alaska, as well as five new middle school regional competitions, including events in Alaska and Puerto Rico. Winners of the regional competitions will be awarded all-expenses paid trips to the National Finals in Washington, D.C., scheduled for April 25-29, 2013. To register for their respective regional competitions in the upcoming Science Bowl, teams should go to the National Science Bowl website. See the Energy Department press release and the competition website.
The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently completed a performance evaluation report that showed hybrid electric delivery vans had a 13% to 20% higher fuel economy compared to similar conventional vans. The new NREL report, Eighteen-Month Final Evaluation of UPS Second Generation Diesel Hybrid Electric Delivery Vans, details the impact of hybridization on fuel economy and performance and identifies the conditions under which hybrids offer maximum fuel savings.
The NREL team collected and analyzed in-service fuel economy, maintenance, and other vehicle performance data on 11 hybrid and 11 conventional step vans operated by the United Parcel Service (UPS) in Minneapolis. The hybrid vans feature hybrid propulsion systems with 44-kilowatt electric motors, lithium-ion batteries, and regenerative braking, which captures energy normally lost during braking to power the electric motor. See the NREL press release and the complete report.
Dozens of the nation’s leading entrepreneurs and innovators gathered at the White House on October 1 to celebrate new products, mobile phone applications, and services that lower energy costs, improve energy efficiency, and protect the environment. The event—”Energy Datapalooza”—was the first annual showcase for the Energy Data Initiative, launched by the Administration earlier this year to liberate data as a fuel of innovation while rigorously protecting privacy.
The common thread throughout the new products showcased at the Energy Datapalooza: they all use freely available open data from the U.S. government. “We use open data in all of our products,” says Martha Amram, CEO of WattzOn, an energy efficiency company that saves homeowners money. “The government datasets and technologies are valuable but often complex in the raw form. We integrate open data along with proprietary and third-party sources to deliver innovations that make a real difference for people.” For the complete story, see the Energy Blog.
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)