Florida Solar Energy Center, The Energy Chronicle, a newsletter of the Florida Solar Energy Center header
A Research Institute of the University of Central Florida Issue No. 5: October 2005

Click here to send your comments, suggestions and ideas for future issues. Click on photos for larger views.







Diary of a Hurricane Relief Volunteer

campsite of a relief worker includes PV panel and solar cooker
Bill Young set up this camp site powering his refrigerator in the van with the PV trailer, and cooked his food using the solar oven.
(Photo: Bill Young)

Bill Young has found a way to use his knowledge of photovoltaics and HAM radio to help with several disaster relief efforts during the past 17 years. He first worked in hurricane relief efforts after Hugo in 1988, and then his involvement with Brevard County emergency radio services brought him to South Florida to help with Hurricane Andrew relief activities in 1992. Since then, he's been to a few more post-disaster areas and has also taken a number of courses offered by the Red Cross and other organizations on disaster relief. He's now part of a Red Cross damage assessment team that gets called in to help with communication and other needs, and got his share of work last summer with the four hurricanes that hit Florida.

Bill's team goes into an area and determines the need for power, the livability of the area and the communication requirements. His skill as a HAM radio operator lets him set up communications for a wide variety of purposes, from official community needs to letting people contact their family members.

Hurricane Katrina got many FSEC staff members actively involved with hurricane relief projects — putting together PV equipment and coordinating FSEC's role in a project with both the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and members of the PV industry to get equipment to the Gulf Coast region for use in relief efforts.

Bill spent 10 days helping with emergency communication services. He kept a diary of his efforts to give you an idea of how solar energy was used to help after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Click on the link below to see his diary.

<Full Story> Top


Free Subscription icon
Archives icon

FSEC has come a long way.

You are invited to the 30th anniversary of the Florida Solar Energy Center on October 29, 2005 from
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Click here for more details.



Complying with Duct System Requirements of the Florida Energy Code to Avoid Energy and Mold Problems in Homes
October 18, in Jacksonville, FL
Residential HVAC as if Comfort and Energy Mattered
October 18, in Jacksonville, FL
Complying with Duct System Requirements of the Florida Energy Code to Avoid Energy and Mold Problems in Homes
October 20, in Panama City, FL
Residential HVAC as if Comfort and Energy Mattered
October 20, in Panama City, FL
Complying with Duct System Requirements of the Florida Energy Code to Avoid Energy and Mold Problems in Homes
October 26, 2005 in
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Residential HVAC as if Comfort and Energy Mattered
October 26, 2005 in
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
30th anniversary open house
October 29, 2005

Installation of Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Systems
October 31-November 4

Energy Gauge Rater Training - Class 3
December 5

Energy Gauge Rater Training - Class 2
December 6-7
Energy Gauge Rater Training - Class 1
December 8-10
RESNET National Core Exam
December 10 (online)

The 2006 Short Course on Fuel Cell Technology
February 5-8, 2006


Cover artwork of FSEC history book
Cover of the FSEC history book.
(Artwork by Shelli Keisling)

Former FSEC Director Writes Book on the History of the Center

It started at FSEC's 25th anniversary celebration in 2000 when former UCF administrator C.B. Gambrell pulled center director Dave Block aside. You really need to get the history of this place down in writing sometime, Gambrell told him. So much has happened in the first 25 years that it's going to be hard to remember everything. You ought to write a book on the history of the center.

<Full Story> Top


"Energy: The Grand Challenge"

Dr. Jim Fenton
Jim Fenton
(Photo: Nick Waters)

Jim Fenton, Director

On September 14, UCF President John Hitt hosted one of the university’s "Focus on Excellence" breakfasts in downtown Orlando. The theme of the program was energy, and more than 200 community leaders from throughout Central Florida attended to learn about the university’s interest in this field.

I gave a presentation entitled "Energy: The Grand Challenge of the 21st Century," and I’d like to share some of my comments with you here. The timing of the program couldn’t have been better for getting people to think about today's energy issues – we were still reeling from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, the sharp rise of gas prices to above $3 per gallon, and the projections of higher home utility bills this winter. My comments to the group gave me a chance to share my vision of FSEC’s future.

<Full Story> Top


30th Anniversary Open House Set for October 29

In early 1975, administrators at the University of Central Florida began putting together the people to staff the new solar energy center that had been established by the Florida Legislature.

This month, in honor of the center's 30th anniversary, we'll be holding an open house to share information on energy-saving strategies and products and to showcase our building and our research. You're invited to join us for this special event.

<Full Story> Top

PV Modules and Systems Now Certified by FSEC

PV modules being tested
PV panels being installed in the Spire Simulator for testing..
(Photo: Nick Waters)

The tremendous growth of the photovoltaics industry in the past few years has spurred interest in the development of national standards to assure that consumers get the quality and performance promised by manufacturers.

The Florida Solar Energy Center, in association with Sandia National Laboratories, has been in the forefront of these developments and is playing a leading role in product certification standards. FSEC has been certifying solar thermal products and systems made or sold in Florida since the early 1980s. Since September 18, this testing and certification now extends to PV modules and systems as well.

<Full Story> Top

Hurricane Roof Damage Might be an Opportunity for an Energy-Saving Roof

New, energy-efficient, white-metal roof.
(Photo: David Chasar)

Last summer's hurricanes in Florida left many of the state's homes decorated with blue tarps on their roofs. As a result, many homeowners have had roofs repaired or replaced since then, but the numbers of tarps still visible says that lots of roofs still need work.

The good news is that the unfortunate situation of needing to replace a roof can be turned into a money-saving opportunity. Choosing the right roof can give you a cooler, more energy-efficient home and save money on your monthly utility bills.

<Full Story> Top


New Hydrogen Pages on FSEC Web Site

Hydrogen website home page
Hydrogen web site home page.

If hydrogen is so plentiful, why aren't we using it to power our cars and provide electricity to our homes and businesses now? How do we make hydrogen? Does hydrogen really require those big storage tanks that we see at the Kennedy Space Center? What is the "Hydrogen Economy?" Just how safe is hydrogen to put in our cars?

Answers to these and many other questions can be found in the newly revamped hydrogen pages of the FSEC web site (www.fsec.ucf.edu and click on "Hydrogen").

<Full Story> Top

New Federal Tax Credits Bring Renewed Interest in FSEC Testing and Certification Program

EnergyWhiz Olympics participants
Solar hot water system on portable test platform.
(Photo: Steven Spencer)

The phones in the offices of FSEC's testing and certification staff members are ringing off the hooks these days. Twenty years after the expiration of federal tax credits for solar thermal systems, the new Energy Policy Act of 2005 will bring the credits back at the start of 2006.

Jim Huggins is acting director of FSEC's Solar Thermal Division, which is responsible for testing and certifying solar equipment before it can be eligible for the tax credits and many other incentive programs. He says that the solar water heating industry is preparing for increased sales encouraged by the tax credit.

<Full Story> Top

Florida's Hydrogen Research Information Available on Database

The useful information on FSEC's web site has been enhanced with the addition of a searchable database of hydrogen research projects in Florida. "The Florida Hydrogen Research Database" was created by Deputy Director Philip Fairey and Safvat Kalaghchy, Director of Computing and Information Technologies, and Larry Abdullah, Computer Application Coordinator and Database Administrator. It can be viewed at https://securedb2.fsec.ucf.edu/hr .

<Full Story> Top


FSEC Updates Online Consumer Publication on Energy Efficient Transportation

EnergyWhiz Olympics participants
Gas prices on the rise after two major hurricanes on the Gulf Coast.
(Photo: Sherri Shields)

As Hurricane Rita bears down on Texas and the Gulf Coast, drivers around the country are wondering what effect this latest storm will have on already high gas prices. The projected path of the storm takes it toward oil rigs, pipelines and refineries along the Gulf of Mexico, where about a fourth of the U.S. refining capacity is located.

It was just a few weeks ago when Hurricane Katrina's devastating blow to Louisiana and nearby states sent gas prices above $3 in most of the country. While these prices have come down somewhat, we're all still feeling "sticker shock" at the pump.

In response to the effects of these storms, the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has just revised its popular energy note on "Energy Efficient Transportation for Florida." It offers many tips to help conserve gas and drive more efficiently, including suggestions for maintaining your car, efficient driving strategies, wise use of air conditioning and a look at future hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles. The information will be useful to drivers in all parts of the country.

<Full Story> Top

Fuel Cell Technology Course to be held at FSEC

The 2006 Short Course on Fuel Cell Technology will be held at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa, Florida, February 5 - 8, 2006.

This new course will cover both basic and applied aspects of fuel cell technology through integrated lecture and laboratory sessions. Lectures will discuss the theory of fuel cell operation and outline the principles behind state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques. Laboratory sessions will provide hands-on training of fuel cell testing and performance evaluation.

<Full Story> Top


Florida Solar Energy Center Engineer to Present Workshop on Disaster Relief

A workshop on the "Basics of Using Solar Energy in a Disaster" was presented at the Solar World Congress in Orlando, Florida, on Friday, August 12. The course was taught by Bill Young, a senior engineer at the Florida Solar Energy Center. Participants in the workshop will learn about the uses of solar energy for response, recovery and mitigation functions following disasters.

<Full Story> Top

The Florida Energy Achievement Awards

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) is pleased to announce the creation of
the "Florida Energy Achievement Awards." This new annual award will recognize a
company, organization or individual that has made a significant achievement in the
efficient utilization of energy, energy conservation, energy education or
renewable energy in the state of Florida.

The award will be presented each October to recognize statewide leadership in
sustainable energy savings. The selected winner will have achieved significant
results in energy efficiency, conservation, energy education or the use of
renewable energy in their facility or program.

<Full Story> Top

FSEC Selected as a Middle School Science Bowl Site

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has been chosen as host of the Southeast
Regional Middle School Science Bowl (previously known as the Florida Middle School
Science Bowl) in April 2006.

This regional competition is part of the national Middle School Science Bowl
program, which is coordinated by the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of
Energy. Finalists from the 28 regional science bowls around the country compete
in the national finals.

<Full Story> Top


Fresh Heat for Energy Policy
A confluence of events has conservation and alternative energy back in the spotlight. Here's where they stand and where they're headed.

Thanks to an unhappy combination of war and natural disaster, energy policy is once again at the top of the national agenda. Even before the war in Iraq, plenty of people were uncomfortable with the idea of driving themselves to the office in an eight-seat all-terrain vehicle that has a towing capacity of 4,000 pounds and gets a lousy 10 or 12 miles to the gallon. Although in much of the nation, SUVs rule the road, a growing number of Americans would prefer to drive a hybrid-powered Toyota (TM) Prius to a nearby Whole Foods supermarket, stock up on Amy's organic burritos, and lug them home in reusable hemp bags. Prius sales are up 126% through August, to 73,000 units, while gas guzzlers like the Hummer H2 and Chevrolet Tahoe continue to fall.

<Full Story> Top

Remarks of Robert Rose, Executive Director U.S. Fuel Cell Council

The world economy is addicted to oil. World oil demand exceeded 82 million barrels a day this summer, in the face of rising crude prices. The U.S. Energy Information Agency projects demand will reach 121 million barrels a day by 2025, worth more than $2 trillion at $50 per barrel. Most of this new demand will come from countries that have largely missed out on the benefits of the oil century. They want and deserve their share of human comfort and affluence. What might happen if the supply runs short or price competition becomes too aggressive? We are also developing an addiction to electrons. Consumers increasingly are intolerant of interruptions in service, as they have become more dependent. In the U.S., one home in five has an electric . . . toothbrush. Think of it.

<Full Story> Top

Ford Delivers Fleet of Focus Fuel Cell Vehicles to California

Ford Motor Company is handing over the keys to five hybrid Ford Focus Fuel Cell vehicles to the Sacramento Municipal District (SMUD) as part of a five city 30 car program to gain real world feedback on the cars.

<Full Story> Top

This newsletter has been produced by Ken Sheinkopf, Dianne Wood, Sherri Shields and Adrienne Henzmann.

Florida Solar Energy Center