WARNING: SCAMMERS Posing as Florida Solar Energy Center

Warning sign, red outline triangle with black exclamation point in middle, cludy blue sky background
WARNING! Scammers posing as FSEC.

WARNING: SCAMMERS are posing as the Florida Solar Energy Center. FSEC® has received several reports from consumers that they are receiving multiple calls (from different phone numbers) from a telemarketer posing to be the Florida Solar Energy Center. In some cases, they are even being referred to the FSEC website. FSEC is a research institute of the University of Central Florida (UCF). FSEC will not call consumers to offer help with an electric bill, offer a free estimate, or solicit information for a purchase.

UCF recommends you file a complaint at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/stop-unwanted-calls-and-texts.

You can also visit the Florida Office of the Attorney General website for Consumer Protection.

Solar contractors must be licensed to do business in the state. You can check licenses at: http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/

Learn how to protect yourself from robocalls: https://consumersunion.org/end-robocalls/

UCF has trademark registrations for FSEC® and other related FLORIDA SOLAR ENERGY CENTER marks.  Unauthorized use is a violation of federal and state laws.

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Smart Vent Tech Improves IAQ and Saves Money, Energy

By Jennifer Josey
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
February 22, 2018

How many times have you completed a system upgrade for a device only to find that it’s glitchy? No one wants to “upgrade” to downgrade, and we don’t like being inconvenienced as things get “smarter.” This is just as true for our homes. Reducing energy consumption (thereby saving money) is a key driver for smart, integrated tech (think smart thermostats); however, adoption is lower if an upgrade risks compromising resident comfort.

Whole-house, smart ventilation is one such up-and-coming “smart” technology. But before it takes off, there are a couple of hurdles to jump: integration with standard heating and cooling systems, and proving the risks are limited and the benefits are many. Researchers with the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center® (FSEC®), in partnership with Washington State University, are tackling smart ventilation systems head on.

UCF/FSEC researchers Chuck Withers and Dave Chasar installing a mechanical ventilation control unit on a flexible duct.
UCF/FSEC researchers Chuck Withers and Dave Chasar installing a fan on a flexible duct to test an energy-efficient mechanical ventilation control design.

In a first-of-its-kind report, “Field and Laboratory Testing of Approaches to Smart Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation Control,” FSEC documented research on lab and field testing of smart ventilation control (SVC) systems. The report explains that whole-house mechanical ventilation is a critical component to a comprehensive indoor air quality (IAQ) strategy. In addition, these systems can help the residential sector more reliably design, install, and operate mechanical ventilation systems to achieve best-practice IAQ while saving energy and improving comfort, moisture, and peak load impacts.

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Installing Solar Electric (Photovoltaic) Systems – An Instructional Program for Contractors, Utilities, Engineers and Code Officials

Adults students in the Installing Photovoltaic Systems course receive hands-on instruction and install PV panels on mock residential roof systems.
Students participate in hands-on lab at FSEC’s Installing Photovoltaic Systems workshop.

The Florida Solar Energy Center® (FSEC®) is offering its five-day course covering the design and installation of photovoltaic (PV) systems January 22-26, 2018, in Cocoa, Florida. This course is intended for technicians, electricians, engineers and other practitioners in the solar, construction, and electric utility sectors. The overall goal is to develop “system-knowledgeable” professionals to help ensure the safety and quality of PV system installations.

  • Hands-on – The course format includes a balance of classroom instruction and actual hands-on work with PV systems and equipment.’s
  • Student-interactive – Demonstration and lab exercises simulate the process of designing, installing and commissioning of residential and small commercial grid-connected PV systems.
  • State-of-the-Art – Emphasis is placed on code compliance and accepted state-of-the-art industry design and installation practice.

The course fee is $995 and registration can be completed online at the FSEC website: https://secure.fsec.ucf.edu/fsecstore/do/product/InstallPV. Each participant receives a copy of the textbook Photovoltaic Systems by Jim Dunlop as well as all instructional materials. Participants successfully completing the course will be awarded a certificate of completion from FSEC and will be eligible to take the North American Board of Certified Practitioners (NABCEP) Photovoltaic Associate Program examination (see below). This course is approved by the Florida Construction and Electrical Licensing Boards for 18 continuing education credits.

FSEC is an approved provider of the PV training that is a prerequisite for the NABCEP Photovoltaic Associate Program examination. Students may register for the Computer Based Test (CBT) after completing the FSEC Installing Photovoltaic Systems workshop. The examination fee is $150. Interested participants will be able to sign up for this exam within two years of completing the workshop. For further information on the NABCEP PV Associate Program, please visit http://www.nabcep.org/associate. FSEC has also achieved the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) Continuing Education Provider Accreditation for the FSEC Installing Photovoltaic Systems course.

For questions or more information, please contact Colleen Kettles at 321-638-1004 or ckettles@fsec.ucf.edu.

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Permit-Ready Solar System Certification Now Faster and Cheaper

GO SOLAR Florida. Express PV Certifiction System. Fast. Permit-Ready. Low-cost. https://scp.fsec.ucf.edu/
Express PV Certification now FREE until the end of June.

COCOA, Fla., June 19, 2017— Contractors installing photovoltaic (solar electric) systems in Florida can now obtain permit-ready documents in a matter of minutes, thanks to a new online express solar certification system developed by the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)®.

The database-driven, web-based Solar Certification Portal will process inputs from professional engineers and contractors licensed to install photovoltaic (PV) systems in Florida. The output includes an electrical schematic and supporting equipment documentation—which complies with prevailing codes and standards—certified by FSEC and ready for use in the building permit process.

Express system certification only costs $150—a $100 reduction over the current manual system certification fee. Tier 1 PV systems (10kW or less) are eligible for express processing.

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Energized Students Infectious at Statewide Renewable Energy Competition

COCOA, June 5, 2017—Nearly 50 schools across Florida—from Key West and Tallahassee—participated in this year’s EnergyWhiz competition last month at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center.

More than 115 teams, which included nearly 500 students, prepared their projects for competition: model-sized solar cars for the Junior Solar Sprint (JSS), solar ovens for the Cook-off, full-scale photovoltaic panels for Energy Innovations, energy-efficient animal homes for the Critter Comfort Cottage competition, and go-cart-sized electric cars for the Electrathon.

In the longest running event, JSS, cars underwent inspection, design judging, time-trials, and new this year, team interviews. “Questions from judges may sometimes be intimidating, but interviews give students the opportunity to shine when they’ve put their heart and soul into a project,” said Guytri Still, JSS lead design judge and former middle school science teacher.

Long table with students on one side, inspectors on other side. JSS car being weighed in.
Junior Solar Sprint cars are inspected and weighed. Credit: Selina Black

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Permit-ready Solar System Certification Now Available Within Minutes

Close up view of photovoltaic panels
Express Photovoltaic System Certification Now Offered

COCOA, Fla., June 1, 2017—Contractors installing photovoltaic (solar electric) systems in Florida can now obtain permit-ready documents in a matter of minutes, thanks to a new online express solar certification system developed by the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)®.

The database-driven, web-based Solar Certification Portal will process inputs from professional engineers and contractors licensed to install photovoltaic (PV) systems in Florida, and produce an electrical three-line schematic and supporting equipment documentation—which complies with prevailing codes and standards—certified by FSEC and ready for use in the building permit process.

In an effort to encourage licensed contractor and engineer feedback, a two-week introductory period will allow use of the new express system free of charge. Beginning June 16, each system certification will only cost $150, a $100 reduction over the current manual system certification fee.

Manual PV system design certification is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. The new express PV system certification process is expected to dramatically reduce the time and costs associated with permitting rooftop PV systems in Florida.

This new express online certification system results from a three-year program sponsored by Broward County with funding from the US Department of Energy’s SunShot program. FSEC was one of several team members of the Go SOLAR Florida initiative that was established to develop policies and procedures to standardize solar energy permitting and remove institutional barriers across the state of Florida, thereby reducing soft costs associated with rooftop PV system installation.

Access the Solar Certification Portal at https://scp.fsec.ucf.edu/. For questions, contact pvsystem@fsec.ucf.edu or 321-638-1457.

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Inventor of Laser Printer Speaks at UCF’s FSEC on May 18 at 11 a.m.

CANCELLED. Due to unforeseen circumstances, this presentation will be rescheduled.

 

UCF Energy Connections Seminar Series presents, “Imagination versus Knowledge” by Mr. Gary Starkweather, inventor of the laser printer and color management technology.

UCF Energy Connections Seminar Series
Listen. Learn. Connect.

We now live in a world where we have access to stupendous amounts of knowledge. How does this knowledge enable new and innovative ideas or does it? Mr. Starkweather will use the example of the laser printer as insight into imagination and the use of knowledge, and also look at other instances of innovation. Many companies no longer spend much money on

Illustration of light bulb with "idea" written as the filament, doodles all around light bulb, and three pencils in yellow, green and blue with the words creative, knowledge, education
“Imagination versus Knowledge”

research and this is unfortunate. Eli Lilly said that research is the “Soul of the company, the heart of the business.” In 1899, the head of the U.S. Patent department said that the operation ought to be closed down, as all the good ideas have been invented. Since that statement, about 7 million patents have been issued. Imagination is very important. Mr. Starkweather will take a look at it and how it can be supported.

WHERE:
Florida Solar Energy Center, 1679 Clearlake Road, Cocoa, FL 32922-5703

WHEN:
Thursday, May 18, 2017 @ 11:00 a.m.

COST:
Free

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Solar Cars, Cookers and Inventions Compete at EnergyWhiz on May 13

By Sherri Shields
April 25, 2017

COCOA, FL–Elementary, middle and high school students—from Florida’s Panhandle to the Keys—will show off their solar cars, cookers and inventions during EnergyWhiz on Saturday, May 13th.

EnergyWhiz logo
EnergyWhiz – a forum for students to demonstrate their science, technology, engineering, art, and math capabilities through hands-on, energy-focused projects and activities.

EnergyWhiz is a day-long event that showcases sustainable and renewable energy-focused products with real-world purpose that are designed, built and demonstrated by teams of students. Each project category requires students to share what they have learned with their peers, the public and industry professionals who also serve as project evaluators. Creative thinking, scientific know-how and effective communication skills all come into play at EnergyWhiz.

The 15th annual event is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Cocoa campus of the University of Central Florida (UCF) and Eastern Florida State College, at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), 1679 Clearlake Road. The event is free and open to the public.

DJ Chill Will—the world’s first solar-powered DJ and also a full-time, middle school environmental science teacher—will be emceeing the event in the morning. He will also be demonstrating photovoltaic equipment components and functions, teaching
scientific concepts behind photovoltaic technology, and educating on the applicability of using renewable energy to reduce environmental impacts. Food trucks and a showcase of electric vehicles will also be at EnergyWhiz.

Competitions will include: Junior Solar Sprint, Energy Innovations, Solar Energy Cook-off, and the Electrathon.

  • The Junior Solar Sprint is a competition that challenges elementary and middle-school students to design, build and race model solar cars. Awards are given based on vehicle design, quality of craftsmanship, innovation and vehicle speed.

    Female student and male student at the starting line of the Junior Solar Sprint yellow track, racing their model-size solar cars. Female student's car is slightly ahead of male's car.
    Students design, build and race solar-powered cars in the Junior Solar Sprint. Credit: Sherri Shields
  • The Solar Energy Cook-off challenges students in grades 4 through 12 to design and build solar cookers and cook a recipe of their own creation using the power of the sun.  In Top Chef-style, each dish will be judged by a panel of experts based on taste, ingredients, presentation and creativity.

    One male student positions the solar cooker while the other male student stands behind the cooker, stands behind the cooker, facing the sun and uses his hand to determine the path of the sun in relationship to the cooker.
    Tracking the sun to position the solar cooker is crucial in keeping an optimal oven temperature for cooking. Credit: Cheryl Carson
  • The Energy Innovations program is a full-scale solar electric design and marketing challenge for middle and high school students. Each participating team designs and constructs a product or artistic work powered by photovoltaics, also called solar electric cells. Teams also create marketing pieces—such as brochures, fliers, and posters—to accompany their products.

    Solar panels arranged on a pyramid designed of PVC tubing that sits inside a child-sized swimming pool with water in it.
    Energy Innovations challenges students to design, engineer and market full-scale, solar-powered devices that have real-world applicability. Credit: Liza Robles
  • The Critter Comfort Cottage competition challenges students in grades 4 through 12 to demonstrate their understanding of energy efficient and eco-friendly building design for a pet of their choosing.

    Students design energy-efficient and eco-friendly homes for pets in the Critter Comfort Cottage. Credit: Cheryl Carson
  • The Electrathon is a competition for high school students and older. The go-cart-type vehicles, powered by an electric motor and batteries, must be skillfully designed, built and driven to maximize distance traveled within a given time limit.

    Six electric go-cart-style cars starting the race in a parking lot.
    Go-cart-type electric vehicles are skillfully designed, built, and driven to maximize distance traveled with a time limit. Credit: Alik Smith

This year’s EnergyWhiz sponsors include: Florida Power & Light Company, Duke Energy, Publix Super Market Charities,  Airport Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, American Muscle Car Museum, LifeStyle Homes, Solar-Ray, Inc., and Smart Electric Power Alliance.

“The success of EnergyWhiz is in large part due to our volunteers and sponsors,” said Susan Schleith, K-12 Education Director at FSEC. “Whether you can spare a couple of hours or the whole day, you can help make EnergyWhiz a continued success.” Volunteers and sponsors can sign-up at: http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/go/energywhiz.

For more information about EnergyWhiz, visit http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/go/energywhiz, watch a video about the EnergyWhiz at http://vimeo.com/9522310, or contact Susan Schleith, K-12 Education Director, at susan@fsec.ucf.edu or Sherri Shields, Communications Director, at sherri@fsec.ucf.edu.

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PR17-02

 

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UCF Establishes Chapter of National Academy of Inventors

By Barb Abney

November 8, 2016

Group photo of inductees into National Academy of Inventers UCF Chapter. UCF Office of Research and Commercialization backdrop behind members.The University of Central Florida inducted 29 researchers into its new chapter of the National Academy of Inventors on Monday night in a gala focused on innovation and invention.

The NAI membership has more than 200 institutional organizations that encourage and support their faculty, staff and students to create innovative and groundbreaking technologies.

“We have faculty and students who are creating technologies that change the world,” said Elizabeth Klonoff, vice president for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies. “Our past success, in combination with our ever-expanding potential to impact areas as diverse as engineering, education and health, is growing our reputation as a change agent. This NAI chapter will play an important role in growing that reputation and spurring on more innovation, which will benefit our community here and beyond.”

Issa Batarseh, professor of electrical engineering, and Tom O’Neal, associate vice president for commercialization and innovation, will lead UCF’s chapter.

“Innovation is on the rise at UCF and this strong inaugural class of inventors makes it clear that we are making an impact,” O’Neal said.

UCF has routinely ranked among the top universities in the country for the strength of its patents. Together, the inaugural class holds 541 of the 925 patents the university has claimed since 1989.

Several new chapter members – who are already NAI Fellows – were recognized at the gala.

UCF’s newest national fellow, Guifang Li, professor of optics and photonics, physics and engineering, was recognized by the NAI in 2015 for his optical-fiber communications technologies. He is the lead inventor on 24 U.S. issued patents and his work has been influential in building faster and more efficient network-communication systems.

Some of the inaugural members are James J. Hickman, professor of chemistry, biomolecular science and electrical engineering, who is building human-on-a-chip systems to test toxicity of pharmaceuticals and ultimately eliminate the need for human and animal drug trials. Hickman has received 10 U.S. patents while at UCF.

Also, Richard Blair, associate professor of chemistry, has developed a proprietary method to give industry-affordable access to graphene – one of the world’s strongest materials. He has licensed the technology to UCF startup company Garmor Inc. and is the lead inventor on eight U.S. issued patents.

Founded in 2010, the NAI is a non-profit organization with more than 3,000 members. The NAI seeks to recognize and encourage inventors with U.S. patents, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate its members’ inventions to benefit society.

Inventors from UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center, and the number of patents they earned while at UCF, include: Danny Parker (30), Nazim Muradov, Ph.D. (27), Issa Batarseh, Ph.D. (21), and Ali Raissi, Ph.D. (18).

The complete list of UCF fellows is at https://tt.research.ucf.edu/nai

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Metrics for Energy Efficient Buildings: How Do We Measure Efficiency?

efficiency level conceptual meter indicates 100 percent, isolated on white background
When it comes to an entire house or building, or comparing homes or buildings, what should the measurement be?

Some measurements are very direct like the height cleared by the Olympic high jumping gold medalist this summer. Efficiency has a number of nuances, though, that make measuring it difficult in terms that allow consumers to make informed decisions. When it comes to an entire house or building, or comparing homes or buildings, what should the measurement be? And how should you compare energy use on-site versus off-site? How do you determine what is efficient about the building versus the operations of the building? And how should renewable energy use or the time of energy use, and time-dependent cost of energy use factor in? Should the emissions of the source of the energy used be factored? To learn more, read the paper written by FSEC’s Deputy Director Philip Fairey and Natural Resources Defense Council’s David Goldstein.

Adobe Acrobat PDF icon

Metrics for Energy Efficient Buildings: How Do We Measure Efficiency?*

 

*This paper was presented at the 2016 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings in Pacific Grove, CA in August  2016.

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