Important notification regarding photovoltaic (solar) panels sold under the trade name Advanced Solar Photonics (ASP) on behalf of Bluechip Energy LLC

April 24th, 2013

On February 13, 2013, the Florida Solar Energy Center revoked its module registration of ASP modules, having discovered that documentation asserting Underwriters Laboratories (UL) testing was not substantiated by UL.

UL has issued a public notice regarding the counterfeit products, and information enabling identification of the affected panels is available in the Public Notices portion of the UL website, or may be accessed via the following link to the notice: UL warns of counterfeit UL Mark on photovoltaic panels (Release 13PN-20).

Please note that ASP issued a recall for these mislabeled photovoltaic products, with details regarding inspection and replacement accessible via the following link: Advanced Solar Photonics Announces Product Recall of PV Modules for Code Compliance.

The Florida Attorney General’s Office is equipped to receive complaints regarding the ASP/Bluechip Energy products directly from consumers, with protocols in place to investigate consumer fraud. Complaints may be filed via a “Quick Link” on the Attorney General website homepage, or accessed and submitted electronically via the Citizen Services Contact Form via the following link: Citizen Services Contact Form.

Please direct all complaints and investigative inquiries to the Florida Attorney General’s Office

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No Shortage of Energy on May 4th

April 15th, 2013

Student-Built Solar Cars, Cookers and Hydrogen Inventions
Energize the EnergyWhiz Olympics

More than 650 elementary, middle and high school students—from across Florida—will show off their Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) skills at the 11th annual EnergyWhiz Olympics on Saturday, May 4th in Cocoa.

The EnergyWhiz Olympics is a daylong event showcasing student-built projects in solar and hydrogen. These hands-on renewable energy competitions expose students to alternative energy fuel sources and encourage scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork.

The public is invited to attend free of charge. The event is located on Brevard Community College’s Cocoa Campus, at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center, 1679 Clearlake Road. Competitions are from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., with an awards ceremony following.

Activities include:

  • The Energy Innovations program (10:00 a.m.) 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 fully powered by photovoltaics (PV), also called solar electric cells. In addition, teams create marketing pieces—such as brochures, fliers, and posters—to accompany their products.
  • The Hydrogen Challenge (10:30 a.m.) for students in grades 6 through 12, provide opportunities for student teams to explore hydrogen through hands-on engineering. Students demonstrate an understanding of hydrogen through a creative timing apparatus built with several Rube Goldberg-type steps.
  • The Battery Assisted Transport (BAT) Mobile (11:00 a.m.) challenges students in grades 6 through 8, to build and race model-sized electric cars. The race tests the creative engineering skills of students as they gain hands-on experience in the automotive design process. This event is a component of the Department of Energy’s Middle School Science Bowl.
  • The Junior Solar Sprint (11:30 a.m.) is a competition that challenges 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.
  • The Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff (1:00 p.m.) 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 and creativity.
  • The Electrathon (10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.) 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.
  • In addition, Food Truck Bazaar will be on site with 10 different food trucks (11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.).

For more information, visit
http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/education/k-12/energywhiz_olympics/index.htm, or watch a video about the EnergyWhiz Olympics at http://vimeo.com/9522310.

CONTACT:
Susan Schleith, FSEC Education Coordinator, 321-638-1017 or susan@fsec.ucf.edu
Sherri Shields, Asst. Director Communications, 321-638-1019 or sherri@fsec.ucf.edu

Note: photographs from previous years events available upon request.

About FSEC: The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported energy research institute in the nation. Current divisions and their research activities include Advanced Energy Research: alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel and fuel cells; Buildings Research: energy-efficient buildings; and Solar Energy: solar water and pool heating, and solar electric and distributed generation systems. For more information about the center, visit http://www.floridaenergycenter.org or call the FSEC Public Affairs Office at 321-638-1015.

UCF Stands For Opportunity: The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 2nd largest in the nation with more than 58,000 students. UCF’s first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region’s economic development. UCF’s culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information, visit http://news.ucf.edu.

Homeowners Have Shot at $1,500 Energy Savings Through UCF Study

June 4th, 2012

COCOA, June 04, 2012 — Want $1,500 worth of energy improvements to your home, for free?

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is seeking 30 homes in Brevard County and up to 30 from Dade or Broward counties to participate in an energy-retrofit study.  Those selected will benefit from the installation of energy-saving devices worth at least $1,500.

Photo of research knelt down adjusting controller of blower door for energy audit.

An energy audit will be performed on homes selected for the retrofit study.

A limited number of homes may qualify for a more extensive retrofit remodel worth $10,000 to $15,000.

Eligible participants are FPL customers in single-family, detached residences with only one electrical breaker panel, a single central air-conditioning system, electric space and water heating, and Internet service with a home Wi-Fi network.  Homes must be owner-occupied year-round and have been lived in for at least one year.  Preference will be given to homes built prior to the year 2000.

Those selected for the study, which begins this month, can expect the installation of such cost-saving items as: water heater blankets and pipe insulation, low-flow showerheads, CFL bulbs, and home and duct air sealing. Read the rest of this entry »

International Renewable Energy Speaker at FSEC on Monday, May 21, 2012 @ 3 p.m.

May 16th, 2012

What:
An opportunity to learn about a unique international sustainability project.

Title of Presentation:
Urban Energy Services through Stand-Alone Renewable Energy Systems

Speaker:
Dr. Priyadarshini Karve

Abstract:
Generally in the developing countries, stand alone renewable energy systems are associated with electricity generation for rural areas. However, many such systems have failed due to a variety of reasons. An assessment of the failures indicates several reasons, such as lack of technical expertise for operating the systems, difficulties in servicing and maintenance, mismatch between energy services available and energy services required, social, economic, political constraints, etc. Most of these problems would be avoided if the stand alone systems were based in urban areas. Furthermore, no government subsidy or grant will be necessary, as even normal banks can provide finance due to the relatively better creditworthiness of the urban proponents. To some extent the successful introduction of systems, such as solar water heaters in urban areas, is already pointing in this direction.

Read the rest of this entry »

FSEC Scientist Receives UCF Institutes and Centers Award for Excellence in Research

May 15th, 2012

Nazim Muradov, right, accepts award from UCF's Vice President of Research and Commercialization, M.J. Soileau.

COCOA, May 15, 2012 – A researcher who has developed a novel method that uses sponge-like carbon particles to clean up oil spills in water and among some other exciting work at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has received one of UCF’s highest honors.

Nazim Muradov, a researcher at FSEC since 1990, recently received the UCF Institute and Centers Award for Excellence in Research.

Aside from the promising sponge-like carbon clean up method, Muradov also developed a novel high-energy density seawater-based hydrogen generator that can be used to propel Navy’s unmanned undersea vehicles.

“I am honored to receive this award because it underscores the high value and impact of research work conducted at FSEC,” states Muradov.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Homes Wanted for Energy Research Study

May 11th, 2012

COCOA, May 11, 2012 — The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is seeking homes to participate in a State of Florida-sponsored energy research study.  Homeowners of selected homes will be compensated $200 for completion of the energy audit and participation in the energy monitoring study.

Eligible participants are homes that were permitted and built after March 2009, have 1500-2300 square feet of living area, and are owner-occupied year-round.

The FSEC research team will conduct an energy audit within each home and monitor energy use for approximately a three-month period.  Testing will examine house airtightness, air conditioner performance and duct leakage.  The FSEC research team will also collect the previous year’s energy bills.

If you are interested in participating in this research project, please visit http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/go/CodeResearch or contact Jeremy Nelson at 407-243-8197 or jnelson@fsec.ucf.edu by May 31, 2012.

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PR12-03

EnergyWhiz Olympics to Showcase Students’ Solar Cars, Cookers and Hydrogen Experiments

April 20th, 2012

EnergyWhiz Olympics

The tenth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics is a daylong event showcasing student projects in alternative energy. Activities include Junior Solar Sprint, Energy Innovations, Hydrogen Challenge, Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff, and new this year, the Electrathon.

More than 650 Florida elementary, middle and high school students—from as far as Tallahassee and Miami—will participate in the EnergyWhiz Olympics, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 5, at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center. FSEC is located at Brevard Community College’s Cocoa Campus, 1679 Clearlake Road. The public is invited to attend free of charge. Read the rest of this entry »

Subrato Chandra Remembered

January 13th, 2012

Subrato Chandra, Ph.D., retired project manager for the Building America Industrialized Housing Partnership (BAIHP) and one of the pioneers of the building research division of the Florida Solar Energy Center, died Jan. 12 following complications from surgery.

A pioneer of buildings research at FSEC, Subrato Chandra, died Jan. 12, 2012 due to complications from surgery.

Subrato Chandra, a pioneer of buildings research at FSEC.

Subrato, who worked for FSEC for 34 years before retiring in 2010, was passionate about integrating energy efficiency into home design and, long before most people had ever heard the term photovoltaics, helped develop the concept of a PV powered house in Cape Canaveral in 1979.

One of his proudest achievements was highlighted in an email he recently sent a colleague in which several FSEC initiatives were touched upon in a listing of the most transformative homebuilding trends in the last 75 years.

Subrato’s compassion can be seen in the types of projects he championed:   As director of FSEC’s research and development division in 1995 he helped the Environmental Protection Agency launch the Energy Star Homes project that has become the most widely accepted energy-efficient green homes projects in the country.  The Building America project he led still works directly with Habitat for Humanity home builders throughout the country to help make housing more affordable for needy families and helps make manufactured or HUD-code homes more efficient.

Subrato led FSEC’s first major funded project in the buildings area with a $400,000 contract on passive cooling by natural ventilation received in 1981 from the Department of Energy.  During his career at UCF he was involved in $14 million of funded projects. In addition to his work at FSEC, Subrato served as a faculty member in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Subrato was able to succeed because he always championed the personal relationship over the pure technical work. He communicated equally well with a housing subcontractor and a renowned scientist. And in so doing he was able to have a number of happy employees and help funding agencies achieve their goals. His loss will be felt nationwide in the building research community.

“He was a great teacher, a respected scientist, and a classy gentleman, ” said Craig V. Muccio, a colleague from Florida Power and Light who first met Subrato in a solar engineering class Subrato was teaching in 1980.

Most recently Subrato was working with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a senior buildings engineer.

Subrato’s wife Mitra works in the Office of Research & Commercialization and he has two grown children.

Florida Manufactured Solar Electric Panels

December 21st, 2011

Dr. James Fenton Speaks to Florida House of Representatives, Energy & Utilities Subcommittee on December 6, 2011

Below is the transcription of the 12-minute video recording, located here: http://vimeo.com/33415686.

My name is James Fenton, I’m director of the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center here today and I would like to talk to you about manufacturing, manufacturing renewable energy in Florida.  Specifically I’ll use examples of photovoltaics; solar to electric panels.

Which purchase is best for Florida?

Which purchase is best for Florida?

Let’s look at Florida manufacturing jobs as a tale of two salad bowls.  The $10.00 bowl made in Florida using Florida materials keeps all the money and all the jobs in Florida.  The $9.50 bowl imported from China, manufactured by Chinese, using Chinese materials sends most of the money and the jobs to China.  Which purchase is best for Florida?

Florida imports almost all of its energy resources.  The citizens of Florida pay $27 billion for electricity and $30 billion for gasoline for a total of $57 billion per year.  This compares to our state budget of $70 billion a year.  But unlike our state budget, which I hope by the way we spend all that money in the state, most of the $57 billion leaves the state of Florida.  We are faced with two energy challenges – How can Florida reduce its imported energy costs and how can Florida’s electricity and transportation fuel be manufactured in Florida?  Can we design an energy future which allows Florida to keep our capital in the state, increasing economic activity and produce high-wage jobs.  We can and there is a path to do it.  I would like to share such a path.
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Energy Research Study Seeks Two-Story Homes in 13 Counties

November 29th, 2011

COCOA, November 29, 2011 — The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is seeking qualified two-story homes to participate in a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored “wind washing” study that will begin next month.

Eligible participants will be compensated $50 for the initial study, and up to $680 for those who are selected to participate in the monitoring and repair portion of the project; repair costs will be paid by FSEC. Homes for the study are being sought in the following Florida counties: Brevard, Osceola, Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Lake, Marion, Putnam, Flagler, St. Johns, Clay, Duval and Nassau.

Diagram of how wind-driven attic air is pushed into the space between floors.

Wind-driven attic air is pushed into the space between floors.

Wind washing involves the flow of air from an attic space into the floor cavity between the first and second stories of the house. Homes with wind washing are likely to experience increased utility costs and, in some cases, indoor comfort problems. Read the rest of this entry »