Renewable energy 101: ASU offers summer workshop series

Ever wondered what it would take to get “off the grid?” Refine your own biodiesel? Install a photovoltaic system in your home or business? The public is invited to explore these things and more at a series of renewable energy workshops at Appalachian State University this summer.

The Southern Appalachian region contains abundant and readily available wind, solar, and water resources for producing home-grown, clean and renewable energy, according to the Western North Carolina Renewable Energy Initiative (WNCREI), an Appalachian State University Energy Center project dedicated to helping create a sustainable energy future for our region.

The WNCREI is proud to host the 2010 workshop series to empower groups and individuals with the tools and resources to pursue wind, solar, microhydro and alternative fuel technologies for energy independence.

The series runs from June to October and includes many weekend meeting times. A Photovoltaic System Design & Construction course is set for two weekends, June 4-6 and June 25-27. It will introduce participants to the basic concepts, tools, techniques and materials needed to design and construct both battery-based and grid-direct photovoltaic systems. The course will focus on the key competencies addressed in the NABCEP entry- level photovoltaic exam and will include the test on the last day of the workshop.

A course on solar domestic water heating is scheduled for June 12. Participants will learn how to design and construct various freeze-protected solar water heating systems for domestic hot water and space heating needs. The course will cover system design, component selection, performance, and economics, and will be appropriate for homeowners as well as businesses interested in getting into solar. The course will be helpful for those aiming for NC State and Federal Tax credits.

A community-scale biodiesel production workshop will be held June 18-19, focusing on production techniques, quality control, feedstock processing, and byproduct recycling, featuring classroom and hands-on components.

For a complete listing of courses in this series, plus registration and more information, point your Web browser to http://bit.ly/9JaLQ1.

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