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Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

  • 1.  Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

    Posted 07-18-2022 08:40 PM
    If you have 20 or more years of experience in clean energy, what are you interested in doing to pass on your insights, ideas, and stories to new generations?

    Kat Friedrich
    Editor in Chief
    Solar Today

  • 2.  RE: Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

    Posted 07-19-2022 09:26 AM
    I put the solar system of tesla tiles and it is giving me the expected result, I had the alternative of getting budgets for solar panels and they only cover 35% and the price is very similar, while tesla covers 75%, it is paid in 20 years the same as You pay for the electricity bill, it is practically free and it has state-of-the-art technology, I also have two tesla batteries in case the power goes out, thanks

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 3.  RE: Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

    ASES Life Member
    Posted 07-19-2022 11:24 AM
    I have been involved in solar research and technology applications for 40 years. I have a ready-made platform since as a professor, I teach a class on PV tech, PV systems and also train and mentor graduate students. But two things that we could all do is:

    1. Might sound simplistic but wearing a pro-Solar t-shirt announces your connection to solar. Strangers will often make a friendly comment or ask a question. It gives an opening to  start chatting and informally let them know that solar works well, is reliable, and cost effective. 
    2. Get involved in local politics or environmental groups. Many times the voice of a local expert will carry more weight than outside prod-solar developers or local crazies who are claiming solar modules are dangerous. 


    Steven Hegedus
    Professor and Senior Scientist
    University of Delaware
    Newark Delaware

  • 4.  RE: Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

    Chapter Leader
    Posted 07-20-2022 12:24 PM
    I have been working and sharing 'clean energy' educational focus for 40+ years, with MESEA, SEADS of Truth and DADSolar. We are non-profit educational corporations with seminar centers in Washington County, Maine (The Sunrise County, USA)! We have presented 'hands-on' solar assembly workshops with community groups, schools, as well as with families and individuals. We continue with our exciting focus, including helping folks interested in establishing 'off-grid' solar home operations around the state, across the nation and in many foreign countries, working with 'low-income' communities in the style of Dr Richard Komp (author, Practical Photovoltaics)! We're thrilled to allow those interested to learn each step of the process involved. Many communities do establish their own solar business, enabling the community to 'Go Solar' and share the technology with other communities. (See dadsolar.cpm for stories and photos of our work)!

    John Burke
    Director, MESEA, Maine
    Maine Solar Energy Association; Downeast Alternative Design Solar, Inc
    Jonesport ME

  • 5.  RE: Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

    Posted 07-21-2022 09:44 AM
      |   view attached
    Great question Kat!  I am interested in encouraging anyone (new or old!) in the building design industry (architect, designer, engineer, etc.) to recognize the potential of passive solar for heating, and of airflow and thermal mass/ground temperatures for passive cooling strategies. I was so happy to see Edward Mazria show in his presentation at SOLAR 2022, the amount of potential solar energy that a building receives both on the roof for PV and on the south-facing wall (in the northern hemisphere) that can be used to reduce our dependency on other sources of energy. (see attachment) Of course, this depends upon proper shading of the south windows to reduce summer overheating, but those strategies are inherent in good passive solar design. Here is one of my favorite tools for shading design. https://susdesign.com/overhang/index.php by Christopher Gronbeck.

    Debbie Coleman
    Sun Plans

  • 6.  RE: Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

    ASES Life Member
    Posted 07-22-2022 09:18 AM
    We all love our PV electric power - especially paired with battery storage - but SOLAR is so much more.

    Consider: 7 billion people won't have PVs - but they will have passive solar, solar cooking, solar hot water (even if just a black bag in the sun with a spout), solar food drying, and of course, solar to grow all their crops.

    Perseveration on how many N-way junctions we can do on a piece of silica is important, but it's not the whole picture.

    The year was 1976 - Ed Mazria's "The Passive Solar Energy Book" was just notes being passed around between architects and architectural students at UNM. We left school with the how-to make passive solar houses with the right overhangs for summer shading and the right amount of mass for year round comfort.

    I visited with some recent UNM Architecture student graduates - they had no idea what passive solar design was. I practically cried, and am so glad to see Debbie helping bring this sustainable knowledge forward, right when it is needed most.

    Andrew Stone
    Commercial Solar Lending

  • 7.  RE: Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

    ASES Life Member
    Posted 07-22-2022 09:37 AM
    Stories are helpful...

    As I travel around the country casually surveying and eyeing the built environment, I can't help but notice the continued wasteful use of expensive energy.  Structure after structure were designed and built without any regard as to the amount of direct gain occurring through fenestrations that lack proper shading in the summer months.

    In Arkansas we are blessed with trees.  One of the biggest benefits of trees - and for that matter any other type of vertical vegetation - is the amount of shade they provide.  Just ask most any animal (if we could) how important shade is to their survival!

    The overwhelming majority of building occupants faced with the overheating of their living space due to direct thermal gain choose to address the issue with interior blinds, shutters, shades, drapes and curtains. Unfortunately, those measures are minimally useful and effective in reducing thermal gain.

    Every square meter of glass taking direct thermal gain in the summer months, adds significant cooling load to the structure it's installed in. Addressing this thermal gain only from the inside of any structure means the battle has already been lost.  Current analysis shows that, between 40 to 50% of current energy demand is attributable to heating and cooling structures that have been constructed with little consideration of the sun's influence in mind.

    Creating shade to prevent direct sunlight from striking window and door glass during the summer is as simple as it sounds and the only way to effectively eliminate the heat from direct gain in the structure in the summer months.  The Department of Energy explained as much back in 1994.

    Shade can be created in a number of ways.  In the 1950's, houses were routinely equipped with building applied metal awnings located over those windows that were in the "wrong place."  Appropriately-located vegetation can be another suitable choice in some situations, especially on the East and West side of structures.  Operable exterior shades or using mechanical fasteners and or Velcro® to adhere a simple screen frame with Solar Screen is certainly an economical option.  Every home will have its own special circumstances.  Accomplishing the objective at the lowest cost is best solution.

    I have helped install both operable shades and custom ordered screens using Velcro®.  Not all of the screens with Velcro® stayed attached.  I found that vinyl window frames are tough to maintain suitable contact.  Some of the screens fell off over time and had to have new or additional Velcro® applied.  Velcro® attached in a mechanical (rather than adhesive fashion) is possible in some situations.  This is simple stuff that has an excellent return of your investment.  A trial group in Little Rock who installed outdoor screens love their screens and are suggesting others consider do the same. The next round of solar screen installs will include Velcoins® which can survive temperatures up to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Go Solar!

    Frank Kelly
    Little Rock AR

  • 8.  RE: Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

    Posted 08-06-2022 02:28 PM
    Edited by Kat Friedrich 08-06-2022 02:29 PM

    It is great to see such a broad range of responses. 

    It sounds like passive solar is top-of-mind for some of the people who posted here. I have penciled in some ideas about passive solar for our magazine and will see what we can do to address those kinds of solutions in 2023. 

    I'm interested in hearing from more ASES members about how they share their extensive experience. 

    I have around 18 years of experience in clean energy. In July, I participated in a mentoring activity with Work on Climate, a group that some of you might find interesting to join. Work on Climate contains discussions about energy that would benefit from your knowledge base. I talked about my career path with a group of very eager and enthusiastic young people from there.

    I am also looking to do more journalism activities that build on my experience producing news about energy efficiency and renewable energy. This might include developing story ideas that leverage what is in previous articles in my portfolio. 

    Kat Friedrich
    Editor in Chief

  • 9.  RE: Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

    ASES Life Member
    Posted 07-22-2022 10:45 AM
    I have 15 years experience in clean energy, preceded by 32 years with the dirty kind (coal burning electric generating plants) so I have perspective on both.  Since my "conversion" post retirement in 2007, I've installed 16.5kw of PV at my residence, and as a member of my local ASES chapter, Green Energy Ohio, I've participated in the National Solar Tour in 2009, 10, 11, 13, 17, 20 (virtual) and 21.  My son-in-law helped me install one of my arrays and he has since become a big fan of clean energy (and now drives a 2017 Chevy Bolt).  As a hybrid (2004 Honda Insight until 2014) and then BEV (2014-20: Nissan Leaf, 2020-present: Chevy Bolt) owner, I'm telling everyone who asks about the benefits of driving electric and of making my own fuel.  I participated in GEO's EV tour in 2021 as well.  To sum up I guess I'm hoping my example will lead others to be converted as well.

    Mike Curran
    Retired from (dare I say it?) Fossil Plant Mgt.

  • 10.  RE: Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

    ASES Life Member
    Posted 08-10-2022 12:20 PM
    Passive solar has so much potential. It is underused. I taught a solar energy applications course for many years. The last time, the students all designed Ambient Houses using BEopt. All were able to keep indoor temperature between 65 and 75 F year round using only passive solar for heating and nighttime ventilation for cooling. The striking thing was that the designs were so different. Some used lots of glass, others just enough. Same with insulation. One student was from a country where concrete is commonly used for the entire house, so that's where he started. He added some insulation and glass and it was easy to keep indoor temperature stable.

    We need to push for some of the new federal funding being used for promoting passive solar.

    M Keith Sharp
    Emeritus Professor
    Louisville KY

  • 11.  RE: Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

    ASES Life Member
    Posted 08-11-2022 09:35 AM
    Definitely. In 2002 North Texas Renewable Energy Group (TXSES chapter) ran a brief survey and voted on the easy way to help everyone build better:
    1. Site orientation
    2. Insulation Insulation Insulation
    3. ? (vents?)
    Get those three into every school curriculum, National Solar Tour, and building code.
    Famous objections! TOOOOO expensive. Yeah right. Been there, done that. How about shrink the palace footprint and get the safest and most comfortable home ever. Same with batteries! Oh, so expensive. Well, make the home far less energy intensive first then see how much energy you really need then the smaller solar system makes sense with batteries. Forget the push for a 10kw system if you just really hate to do the energy reductions first.
    Building code is so depressing. Decades of the Homebuilders objecting. By now the supply chain would have matured to give us the products that do not out gas, cost less to install and make us happy homeowners. Who really likes utility bills?

    Wyldon Fishman
    Bronx NY

  • 12.  RE: Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

    Chapter Leader
    Posted 08-11-2022 10:04 AM
    id like to second keiths passive solar comments in spades

    more than ten times as much energy falls on a bldg as is used in it   it ought to b and is easy

    now that oil 5$ gallon my estimate that every sqft of south glass ( in north temporate climates) is worth 5$ every year  makes it very economic

    ases needs to put spotlight on inexpensive passive solar retrofits  before pv and heat pumps

    and everything is so much easier when insulation airtightness and passive solar and daylighting r done first


    Drew Gillett
    Solar Engineers

  • 13.  RE: Passing on solar knowledge to new generations

    ASES Life Member
    Posted 08-11-2022 01:00 PM
    Tying up what Drew added.... National Solar Tour could add street fairs to actually educate, find like-minded people and get a new pin drop on the tour map. Find community in community solar, etc.

    Wyldon Fishman
    Bronx NY