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. 6: January 2006

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Florida Trend magazine November 2005 cover -- Hydrogen Power Future Fuel
FSEC research is featured in article on hydrogen. Click here to read it.


Installation of Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Systems
January 30-February 3

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

Energy Gauge Rater Training - Class 3
March 20
Energy Gauge Rater Training - Class 2
March 21-22
Energy Gauge Rater Training - Class 1
March 23-25



FSEC Unveils new EnergyGauge Software to Help with Tax Credit Compliance

EnergyGauge logo

Thanks to new software developed at FSEC, homebuilders around the country will be able to easily and accurately take advantage of the new federal tax credit of $2,000 for homes that reduce energy use for heating and cooling by 50 percent as compared to the national model code.

The building community is excited about the new credits contained in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that went into effect on January 1, providing financial incentives for new homes that are energy efficient. An important component of the credits, however, is that eligible homes must demonstrate savings using software that has been approved by the IRS in accordance with RESNET Publication 05-001 (http://resnet.us/standards/tax_credits/
), and builders must demonstrate compliance by the use of third-party inspectors certified according to IRS rules.

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Designing for Uninterruptible Power: Opportunities for Battery-Based Photovoltaic Systems

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Photovoltaic panels offer a long-term solution to power generation.
(Photo: Steven C. Spencer)

Over the past few years, utility power outages have made headline news, and not only caused inconveniences but loss of business, revenue and hardships for many. Whether these outages are caused by hurricanes, ice storms, power shortages or other utility disturbances, our way of life is significantly disrupted without electrical power.

In the aftermath of major storms and the expected damage to local electrical distribution systems, it is not uncommon for utility power to be out for several days, if not for weeks or even over a month in some cases, and the longer the power remains out, the greater the problems that result. As a solution, many businesses and homeowners are looking into alternative sources of electrical power to mitigate potential — and probable — utility outages.

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Sarasota County Government Wins the First "Florida Energy Achievement Award"

The 2005 Florida Energy Achievement Award, a new program sponsored by the Florida
Solar Energy Center to recognize significant achievement in the efficient utilization of energy, energy conservation, energy education or renewable energy in Florida, has been awarded to Sarasota County Government.

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FSEC Patent Application Marks Successful Development of New Hydrogen
Leak-Detection Compounds

photo of Space Shuttle Challenger lifting of next to hydrogen storage tank
Safe hydrogen storage is important to NASA's space shuttle program.
(Photo: NASA)

Monitoring hydrogen storage and usage sites for leakage is a crucial step in a safe operations plan. To assist NASA in readily discerning the presence of hydrogen leaks, researchers at FSEC have been developing methods for detecting the presence of hydrogen. Since it is such a light gas, diffusing readily, its leakage from a storage tank, in transport or during use can pose potential safety problems. Because hydrogen is also invisible and odorless, developing a system that provides greater ease of use than the currently-employed sensors has been a great challenge.

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Speaker Seminar Series Begins with Talk by Christopher Wronski

photo of Dr. Christopher Wronski
Christopher Wronski

Dr. Christopher Wronski, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University, visited FSEC on November 30 as the first speaker in the 2005-2006 seminar series. During the coming year, several distinguished speakers from industry, education and other fields will give presentations for FSEC staff and the community on energy issues.

Wronski gave an afternoon seminar to FSEC staff on "A Review of Key Solar Technologies Including Current/Emerging Technical Requirements," discussing a broad overview of current solar cell technologies such as crystalline silicon, amorphous silicon and thin films, the technical challenges in their manufacturing processes, and a discussion of factors that would be critical in reducing the cost of PV.

That evening, he gave a non-technical talk entitled "Photovoltaic Energy” for the general public. Members of the IEEE Cape Canaveral Section also attended. After a brief introduction of the economic and environmental benefits of using PV, Wronski discussed topics in PV manufacturing such as competition, subsidies, cost components and the advantages/disadvantages of currently-used solar cell technologies such as crystalline silicon and amorphous thin film silicon as representatives of the promising thin film solar cell technologies.

Check the FSEC home page (www.fsec.ucf.edu) for information on upcoming speakers in the series.

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This newsletter has been produced by Ken Sheinkopf, Sherri Shields, and Adrienne Henzmann.
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All rights reserved. • www.fsec.ucf.edu
Florida Solar Energy Center