We have entered the age of sustainable energy. Technologies that only a short time ago seemed beyond our reach, are now commonplace. Solar energy will dominate the coming decades in the same way that computers dominated the past several decades. Wind technology has come of age. Learn a bit about the future.

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Every day in America, more than 500,000 people experience a power outage.  The average outage is about 2 hours – and they are getting longer and more frequent.

This step-by-step guide is designed to help you build your own solar generator that will provide clean, quiet, odorless and green energy to help you get through those emergencies.

This guide assumes you have no (zero) electrical background.  It walks you through, step by step, how to determine the loads (what appliances do you want to run when the grid is down), how long you wish to run those loads, and how long will you allow the solar panel to recharge the batteries in the generator between uses.

Technology Podcasts…

Solar Energy (onward toward Green Living)

Solar electricity is now the cheapest form of electric on the market today.  Learn some facts and myths about solar electricity. How much does it cost? What incentives are in place to encourage folks to install solar?

Is solar right for my area? Isn’t this a desert thing, I have too much rain? What is the payback period – and should I even worry about that?

A brief introduction into the current state of solar technology and how it will change our lives.

The End of the Age of Fossil Fuels (Renewable Energy)

100 years from now, historians will look back at 2012 and decide that this was the moment when society transitioned from fossil fuels to renewable energy. 

While renewable energy still provides a minority of the energy we consume (about 20%), it makes up the vast majority of new energy systems installed. Within a decade most experts anticipate that renewable energy will be the dominate form of energy on the planet.

We are living through the end of the fossil fuel era.

Making a Solar GeneratorHow to create your own solar generator – sunlight in a box.  Great for temporary power outages, remote construction, remote buildings, camping, or whatever. 

Join the folks from Blue Rock Station in a discussion of how to build your own unit for less than $250.

This is an easy-to-do home project – the gateway drug to solar. This project will give you a working knowledge of how solar power systems work, and don’t be surprised if you become hooked on the technology.

The Once and Future Utility Company

The electric utility was likely the greatest invention of Thomas Edison. Yet while the system has certainly expanded over the years, the underlying technology has largely remained the same. Large centralized generators pump high-voltage electrons over distance, stepping up and stepping down in voltage with the help of transformers.

All that is about to change.

The utility of the future will look more like Facebook than First Energy. The internet of things will require large amounts of data to flow seamlessly over electric lines.

The largest utility in the country will likely own no power lines. Transmission facilities will be on your rooftop, or in a field at the end of the road. The means to back up the grid will sit in your driveway.

How will all this come to pass, and in a few short years at that?

Wind Energy (from Wind Mills to Wind Turbines)

Wind turbines now produce about 7% of the nation’s electricity.   In some states it is as much as 30%. 

It is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and it receives constant attacks – most from fossil fuel backed groups that claim wind kills thousands of birds and bats, causes tumors, causes hair loss, changes the climate, and can make you deaf. 

Find out what is true and what is so much horse hockey about the wind. 

Becoming a Sustainable Engineer

If you look hard enough, some university engineering programs offer an emphasis in sustainability.  But what does that mean and why would you be interested?

Nicholas Anderson, intern at Blue Rock Station and engineering student at the University of Dayton discusses his decision to focus on sustainability, the challenges faced in going against established systems, and how theory and reality part ways.   

Innovations in Solar Power (What’s New Under the Sun?)

During the past decade we have seen huge advances in the number and efficiency of solar power installations.   But we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. 

We are still in the “floppy disk” age of solar – and the next decade promises to be remarkable. 

From solar windows, to floating solar, to wearable solar, to salt-water batteries – innovations are underway that will quite literally change our world. 

Innovations in Battery Technology

Battery technology is the next great technical frontier. 

As we transition to renewable energy, we face the reality that the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.  So how do we store energy when it is abundant and use it when we need it? 

We are in the very beginnings of an industrial revolution that will transform our society in ways we can only barely imagine.  Join Annie and Jay Warmke as they discuss the next big things in battery technology and how these innovations will soon change your life.