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Cheap Solar Comes to Wisconsin | Greentech Media. In a sandy field outside Eau Claire, in western Wisconsin, a new crop is sprouting: solar power. The Eau Claire Energy Co-Op, a member-owned rural co-op with 11,000 customers, is installing the largest utility-owned solar power system in the state, with 2,816 panels capable of delivering 875 kilowatts of DC power. The first section of the system, built by Able Energy of River Falls, Wisconsin, was energized on October 1. The co-op’s Member Solar program offers shares of the system to member-customers at cost -- only $650 per panel, or $2.10 per watt. The power output from the panels is subtracted from customers’ bills through a virtual net metering arrangement, as if it were produced behind the customer’s meter.

Co-op power rates are 12.5 cents per kilowatt-hour in the summer, falling to 10.8 cents in winter. Co-op CEO Lynn Thompson calculates the levelized cost of solar at 8.1 cents per kilowatt-hour, making community solar quite attractive. Better Batteries Through Mushroom Technology. Mushrooms never cease to amaze. They’re one of the weirdest organisms on the planet, and we keep coming up with unexpected uses for them. Actually, some people think mushrooms aren’t from this planet at all. Really. Now comes word that researchers at Researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have found yet another use for mushrooms — in batteries.

Magic Mushrooms In My Yard: Photos The UC research team has developed a new kind of lithium-ion battery anode using portobello mushrooms, which could eventually replace the industry standard of synthetic graphite. The development could have a fairly big impact in multiple industries, actually. Synthetic graphite, on the other hand, has a relatively high manufacturing cost due to specific preparation and purification processes that can also be harmful to the environment, according to the research team.

Some Mushrooms Glow, And Here’s Why Mushrooms are also, as a rule, more tasty than graphite. Energy co-ops: why the UK has nothing on Germany and Denmark | Public Leaders Network. On paper, the Sretton Sugwas solar project just outside Hereford looks a dead cert. Pitched as the UK’s first community-owned photovoltaic installation on a former landfill site, the project promises to provide clean electricity for 250 homes as well as local jobs and financial returns for residents. But getting small-scale community energy projects off the ground has never been easy.

Following a raft of policy revisions over recent months, it just got a lot harder. Dave Prescott, director of New Leaf Solar, the not-for-profit co-operative behind the £1m landfill initiative, is trying to stay positive. “It’s almost brilliant,” he says in reference to the community energy sector. “We just need to keep with it for a couple more years and the whole thing will be self-sustaining.”

Policy threats That looks unlikely. As with many in the small-scale green energy industry, Prescott concedes that subsidies must come down over time, especially as the cost of renewable technologies reduces. By 2100, Earth Will Have an Entirely Different Ocean. The Pacific Ocean. Image: NASA The ocean is in the midst of a radical, manmade change. It can seem kind of crazy that one of the most immense properties on Earth—the ocean washes over 71 percent of the planet—could be completely transformed by a swarm of comparatively tiny, fleshy mammals.

But humans are indeed remaking the ocean, in almost every conceivable way. The ocean we know today—that billions of people swim, fish, float, and surf in—that vast planetary body of water will be of an entirely different character by the end of the century. “There is only one global ocean,” as NOAA likes to say. It’s not just that the ocean is absorbing more heat than at any point over the last 10,000 years, and that its levels are rising. “In a worst case scenario, i.e. one in which we pursue business-as-usual through the end of the century,” the climatologist Michael Mann tells me, “the oceans will look something out of a post-apocalyptic Hollywood flick. Rising Tides Right now, the ocean is growing. Two Indigenous Solar Engineers Changed Their Village in Chile. Liliana Terán, left, and her cousin Luisa, members of the Atacameño indigenous people, are grassroots solar engineers trained at the Barefoot College in northwest India.

By installing solar panels in their northern Chilean village, Caspana, they have changed their own lives and those of their fellow villagers. (Photo: Marianela Jarroud/IPS) Liliana and Luisa Terán, two indigenous women from northern Chile who travelled to India for training in installing solar panels, have not only changed their own future but that of Caspana, their remote village nestled in a stunning valley in the Atacama desert. "It was hard for people to accept what we learned in India," Liliana Terán told IPS.

"At first they rejected it, because we're women. But they gradually got excited about, and now they respect us. " Her cousin, Luisa, said that before they travelled to Asia, there were more than 200 people interested in solar energy in the village. They did not go alone. "We take this seriously," said Luisa. Cardinal-Hickory-Creek Information & Review Process. Solar energy online classes. Kenyan student converts school's poop into safe, clean fuel. In early January 2013, Kenya’s oldest English-language school, the Maseno School, opened new dormitories for 720 students, and it had a couple of problems. Pit latrines and a faulty sewage system inevitably left foul odors and polluted local freshwater sources, while the kitchen used firewood for cooking fuel—unhealthy for cooks and the environment alike.

High school senior, Leroy Mwasaru, now 17, and four of his friends had an idea: to harvest poop and other waste and turn it into a safe, clean and eco-friendly source of cooking fuel. Check out this video courtesy of Makeshift, and read on past the jump to learn more about the project! What Mwasaru and his friends proposed was to build a Human Waste Bioreactor (HWB) that would harvest not only the waste from all the students in the dorm, but also organic waste from the kitchen, cow dung and slashing grass to create biogas for cooking fuel.

Related: Rwanda’s Poo-Powered Prisons are 75% Fueled by Burning Inmates’ Waste + HWB Blog. Revolutionary new solar windows can generate 50 times more energy than conventional photovoltaics. Rural Energy for America Program. With increasing climate variability and rising energy costs, more and more farmers and ranchers are seeking to produce their own renewable energy and reduce energy costs on their farms and ranches. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides grants and loans to farmers and businesses for energy efficiency improvements and purchase of wind, solar or other renewable energy systems, and also provides grants to help farmers with energy audits and renewable energy development. Learn More About REAP! Program Basics: Learn more about how this program worksEligibility: Find out who can utilize this programThe Program in Action: Read success stories from those who have used this programHow to Apply and Program Resources: Learn more about the application process and where to find more informationProgram History, Funding, and Farm Bill Changes: Learn about important policy changes and funding levels provided by the Farm Bill Program Basics USDA’s Rural Business Service administers REAP.

USDA Invests $6.7 Million in Rural Energy Projects. June 16, 2015 On Wednesday, June 10, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an investment of $6.7 million in 544 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects through the farm bill’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP grants and loans help farmers, ranchers, and small business owners reduce energy use and develop and install renewable energy sources.

Among the awards announced last week, Capay Hills Almond Orchard received $20,000 to to install solar panels at their 1,400 tree organic orchard; Say Hay Farms in Yolo County, California also received $20,000 to install solar panels on their diverisified organic operation; and Coveyou Farm, a centennial farm near Petosky, Michigan, received $12,000 to install geothermal and solar energy systems for their greenhouses. You can download the full list of REAP awards from the USDA website. How the Program Works Eligibility and Upcoming Deadlines Background. Japanese Scientists Transmit Electricity Wirelessly Through the Air. Could Hemp Batteries be a Reality? « Great Things from Small Things .. Nanotechnology Innovation.

Researchers have found a way to boost the energy density of supercapacitors through the use of more sophisticated electrodes. These electrodes are composed of hemp fibers, and they have a high energy storage capacity. The development breakthrough has been made by a Canadian start-up company, led by Dr. David Mitlin. The idea arose from some applied thinking, when Mitlin’s group decided to see if they could make graphene-like carbons from hemp bast fibers. From Mitlin’s research, it seems that hemp fibers can hold as much energy and power as graphene, the current favored material for supercapacitors. Supercapacitors are energy storage devices that have huge potential to transform the way future electronics are powered. Mitlin’s group discovered that when hemp fibers were heated for 24 hours at a little over 350 degrees Fahrenheit this would exfoliated the material into carbon nanosheets.

Mitlin’s new research could trigger the electronic industry to move in a new direction. Heating Your Glasshouse. Absolutely FREE videos by Geoff Lawton, World Renowned Permaculture Teacher, Designer and Consultant. Geoff Lawton visits an enormous community glasshouse located in the cold mountains of Canada to find out how they managed to heat their system over winter without costly power bills. Its an amazing system where the summer heat is pumped and stored below ground and slow released over winter. It really works. Its very inexpensive to build too. If you live in a cold climate and plan to heat your house – you must watch this video. These free videos will only be available for a limited time, to get access to watch these videos right now, fill out your name and email in the form on the right. We will keep you updated via your email as we release the free video series. “Geoff: Let’s see if we can head off the crisis rather than go through it.

Over 7,500 comments and thousands of views “We’ve had a ton of people leave positive comments and questions. A fully transparent solar cell that could make every window and screen a power source. Researchers at Michigan State University have created a fully transparent solar concentrator, which could turn any window or sheet of glass (like your smartphone’s screen) into a photovoltaic solar cell. Unlike other “transparent” solar cells that we’ve reported on in the past, this one really is transparent, as you can see in the photos throughout this story. According to Richard Lunt, who led the research, the team are confident that the transparent solar panels can be efficiently deployed in a wide range of settings, from “tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader.”

Scientifically, a transparent solar panel is something of an oxymoron. Solar cells, specifically the photovoltaic kind, make energy by absorbing photons (sunlight) and converting them into electrons (electricity). To get around this limitation, the Michigan State researchers use a slightly different technique for gathering sunlight. 5 Companies Making Fuel From Algae Now. Its time to ditch the grid book. 17-Year-Old Builds Algae Biofuel Lab in Her Bedroom to Win $100K Intel Science Talent Search Prize.

Meet a next-generation scientist making the next generation of biofuel. 17-year-old Sara Volz invented a process that increases the amount of biofuel produced by algae to win this year’s Intel Science Talent Search. The Colorado Springs student claimed the $100,000 grand prize with her project, which uses artificial selection to pinpoint which organisms are churning out the most fuel. This new method not only helps to bring down the overall cost of algae biofuel, but it was developed primarily in her bedroom under a lofted bed! As dedicated a scientist as her adult colleagues, Sara Volz took to sleeping with the same light cycles that her algae required to grow.

In a homemade lab under her loft bed, Volz grew algae in a medium containing the pesticide sethoxydim to kill the algae that produced low levels of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase), an enzyme that is important in lipid synthesis. Sarah was selected from a pool of 1,712 high school seniors. . + Intel Via Co.EXIST. BIOENERGY Training Center UW Cooperative Extension. Solar Training - Women's Solar Electric Design and Installation (Grid-Direct) - Online - Solar Energy International.

Course Description: With female-only instructors and participants, this online course offers women a uniquely supportive learning environment to build their solar knowledge foundation. This course offers the same curriculum as SEI's co-ed PVOL101, but is intended to further encourage participants to get ALL those solar questions answered and offer networking opportunities with each other and existing women in the solar industry. This course starts with an overview of basic PV system application and quickly moves on to provide students with a fundamental understanding of core concepts necessary to work with PV systems, including: system components and configurationsite analysis and solar resource dataPV module specifications and selection criteriamounting solutionssizing of residential size grid-direct systemsovercurrent protection and groundingsafety and commissioning To view in-person sessions of this workshop, click PV101.

NABCEP Hours for Certification (per NABCEP) NEW! PVOL101: Online. Make a Biogas Generator to Produce Your Own Natural Gas - Renewable Energy. Related Content Power to the People Southwest Windpower is the world’s leading supplier of distributed wind generators. With history las... You can use many household organic “waste” materials to produce your own natural gas for cooking, lighting, and space and water heating. This gas, known as “biogas,” can also replace fossil-based natural gas to fuel an engine or an absorption cooling system, such as a gas refrigerator or chiller. Biogas is a mixture of primarily flammable gases — mostly methane — along with carbon dioxide that forms anywhere organic material decomposes anaerobically (without oxygen), such as in water, deep in a landfill, or in the guts of animals, including you.

I prefer the term “generator” for the system, because it conveys the intention of producing something. Home Much Homemade Biogas Energy Can You Make? A well-managed methane digester can produce approximately its own volume of biogas each day. The exact makeup of biogas depends on what you feed to the digester. Solar vs. electric battles heating up in Iowa, Wisconsin. Skirmishes between solar power supporters and electric utilities are intensifying, with standoffs in Iowa and Wisconsin attracting attention around the country.

Most recently, in a decision cheered by solar advocates, the Iowa Supreme Court on Friday rebuffed concerns raised by Iowa regulators and Madison-based Alliant Energy Corp., which argued that a solar company's move to install panels on the roof of a government building in Dubuque unfairly competed with Alliant's monopoly electric utility in Iowa. The 4-2 court decision could trigger a surge of solar power projects in the Hawkeye State by companies that build and own solar panels and lease them to homeowners and small businesses. The leasing trend helps reduce upfront costs to install solar panels and has spurred a wave of solar power growth in states that have allowed it. In Wisconsin, Milwaukee-based We Energies proposed late last month to bar its customers from leasing solar panels.

National attention. SOUL of Wisconsin - Citizen Energy Priorities. Taking Resilience to the Streets. Solar Cooker Resources on the Web: Journey to Forever. Biofuels Library - Journey to Forever. Paul Krugman’s Errors and Omissions. Ethos RePower, Viroqua, WI Market for Renewable Power. IGSHPA - Down to Earth Energy Geothermal. Www.vernonelectric.org. World first: Australian solar plant has generated “supercritical” steam that rivals fossil fuels’ Distillation of Alcohol and De-Naturing by F. B. Wright. A Practical Handbook on the Distillation of Alcohol from Farm Products, Including the Processes of Malting Etc; With Chapters on Alcoholometry and T by Frederic B Wright. The Complete Practical Distiller by M. La Fayette Byrn. Biodiesel: Growing a New Energy Economy by Greg Pahl. Biodiesel Basics and Beyond: A Comprehensive Guide to Production and Use for the Home and Farm by William H. Kemp.

Alcohol Can Be a Gas: Fueling an Energy Revolution by David Blume. Praire Solar Power & Light. Bioenergyservices. Wpr. Support the MREA | The Midwest Renewable Energy Association. PV 101.05 Basic PV (Solar Electricity) Online | The Midwest Renewable Energy Association. ST 101.02 Solar Domestic Hot Water Systems Online | The Midwest Renewable Energy Association. Our 10 Tips for Reinvigorating Local Democracy - in one place. Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers by Sur La Table. Economic Direct Democracy: a radical vision for change. One rural community responds to climate change. Molten Salts May Be An Alternative to Batteries for Electricity Storage.