Saturday, June 25, 2011

Renewable Energy for the Developing World class @ SEI

The Renewable Energy for the Developing World course @ Solar Energy International (SEI) in the beautiful mountain town of Carbondale, Co., is a fast-paced & well-rounded class for anyone interested in sustainable programs in developing countries. The June 2011 class was fairly small, with 9 students from varying backgrounds, making it a close-knit course & easy to get to know one another during the daily hands-on projects. Topics included solar cooking in Africa, Brazil, Peru & Haiti; PV programs in Haiti, Ecuador, Nicaragua & Liberia; Biofuels in Senegal & Mexico; Micro-hydro in Thailand; End-User Financing; the Cuban Energy Revolution & Gender Development. Hands-on projects involved solar cooking; making LED light fixtures; constructing a fuel efficient stove; laying out a Biodigester at a local sustainable farm; & re-wiring a PV system at the SEI headquarters.

Classroom @ Third Street Center in Carbondale

Ed teachin' us all about his original LED light fixtures.

Class soldering the wires of our own personal LED lit bamboo fixtures.

I made light!

Matt, SEI's solar cooking guru, demos a variety of solar cookers.

Cooking in the sun.

A pretty cool suitcase cooker.

And a rotisserie cooker!

Ed's super cool portable parabolic.

Our solar cooked pot luck, mingling SEI students & staff.

Stomping up the dirt, sand & hay to build our fuel efficient stoves.

Putting the finishing touches on our rocket stoves.

Beautiful Mt. Sopris.

A sustainable farm just outside Carbondale, that supports eco-living with an in-sync combination of passive & active solar hybrids, photovoltaic solar panels, micro-hydro, wind power, biogas, biodiesel, geothermal applications, static electricity, fuel efficient stoves, & an 'intelligent use of gravity'.

Solar hot water heater.

Installation of a bio-digester that will use the waste from the pigs, cows, sheep & goats on the farm to produce a super-effective fertilizer, as well as methane gas to power their huge outdoor kitchen.

SEI's office headquarters in downtown Carbondale.

A solar powered school bus used to educate school kids in the area.

One of the many PV arrays that power the SEI building.

The electrical box & battery bank for the pv array.

A re-wiring exercise for the class.

Topping off the batteries with distilled water.

Hooking up the battery bank.

Our instructor's straw bale house.

Complete with a built-in solar cooker!


  1. So cool! Amazing stuff going on out there. (My fave pic is all the bicycles and the irrigation gear...) :) Heidi

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