After introducing more than 35,000 people worldwide about renewable energy, the Solar Energy International (SEI) updated its popular RE100: Introduction to Renewable Energy online course. The updated version of the course “takes a fresh look at the latest trends and developments in the renewable energy industry.”
While it doesn’t promise to turn one into an energy expert, the course aims to help the students determine what kind of technology are relevant for their case, whether it be wind, solar, or any other energy form. Of course it includes a module about energy saving, the best way to reduce one’s environmental impact. The course teaches the basics of renewable energy such as where it could be found, how to harvest it for home use and how it can improve your carbon footprint.
The course consists of ten lessons that include a video lecture by an SEI instructor, readings, a quiz, as well as discussion fora. You can work through it at your own pace as coursework is saved as you go through the material and which you can go back to later. However, you have to finish the course six weeks after registering. The course covers the following:
1. Why Renewable Energy?
2. Conservation & Efficiency
3. Basics of Electricity
4. Solar Thermal
5. Solar Electricity
6. Wind Power
8. Other Renewable Energy Technologies
9. Appropriate Technology for the Developing World
10. Economics of Renewable Energy
Once you register, you get redirected to another URL, http://solarenergytraining.org/, where you are welcomed by the Executive Director of SEI, Ms. Kathy Swartz, who introduces you to the organization. After viewing the video, you can proceed to the lessons, starting with the Course Overview. The Course Overview sets learning objectives, gives an overview of the course, the learning interface, and generally how to get around. The Navigation panel is on the left. From here you can navigate to other lessons in the course, as well as the Student Introductions tab (found under General), where you meet your fellow students. It’s fun to see who else around the globe is taking up the course, as well as their backgrounds.
When you are ready, you can start taking the first topic, “Why Renewable Energy?” Clicking “Presentation – Why Renewable Energy?” launches a PowerPoint presentation with an accompanying lecture audio in streaming video. If you have a slow connection, you have the option of downloading the presentations from the iTunes store.
They say that the course is a great way for someone interested in joining the industry to see the possibilities of renewable energy. The course is also the entry point to Solar Energy International’s Online Campus.
Solar Energy International is a non-profit educational organization based in Colorado that was established in 1991 “to empower people around the world through the education of sustainable practices.” It also works “with grassroots and development organizations in the Americas, Africa, Micronesia and the Caribbean,” as well as with “Pan American Health Organizations, Non-Governmental development organizations (NGOs), foreign, national and state governments, universities and individuals seeking the benefits of renewable energy.”