Renewable Energy Basics and Practice

Not an expert in the renewable energy field but want to learn? Not focused on research or education? Interested in undertaking a renewable energy project? There are lots of online resources available to you. This page links to some of best sites for easy access to information about renewables, along with some helpful resources to guide you in undertaking or commissioning your own projects.

Basic Information
Basics for Young People
Further Resources
Dedicated Internet Websites with Practical Information to Switch to Renewables

Basic Information

Renewable energy by Wikipedia. An overview of renewables including notably presentations of the mainstream renewable energy technologies, their growth and the debate they raise.

Renewable Energy Basics by United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory. A comprehensive and complete overiew of the different renewable energy sources.

Renewable Electricity Generation by United States Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Describes the efforts led by the U.S. DoE in the deployment of solar, geothermal, wind, and hydro for power generation, and provides "Technology Basics" pages for these four energy sources.

Renewable Energy Explained by United States Energy Information Administration. Explains what renewable energy is, the role it plays in the United States, and describes the different technologies and their usage, as well as the existing incentives to promote their expansion.

What is renewable energy? by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Describes the different renewable energy sources and how they are used in Australia.

Renewable Energy and the Energy Transition by WissensWerte. An interesting entertaining 9-minute animation clip explaining Germany's energy transition. The video is also available in German.

Renewable Energy by New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. Introduces the different renewable energy sources and their usage in New Zealand.

Tipos de energia: Energias renovables (in Spanish) by Institut Valencia de Competitivitat Empresarial. Defines renewable energies and provides some information about renewable energy projects in Spain.

Renewable Technologies by the United Kingdom Renewable Energy Association. Presents the range of existing renewable energy technologies, and the policy and financial framework related to their expansion in the United Kingdom.

Renewable Energy by New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Provides basic information on the state of renewables in New York; from their current share in the energy mix to the State's policies to promote their expansion.

Basics for Young People

Looking for some information about green technologies to share with your kids or students? The following section suggests some links to learn about renewables in an entertaining and creative way.

Adventures in Renewable Energy Technology by GreenLearning Canada Foundation. This website provides exhaustive materials for resourceful teenagers and parents willing to build their own solar oven, wind turbine, hydro or biogas generator.

Renewable Basics by United States Energy Information Administration. A good introduction to renewable energy sources, and other conventional energies in the United States. Multiple various online games are available to playfully learn.

Renewable Energy by Alliant Energy Kids. Presents the different renewable energy sources, and provides some guidances to realize micro scale renewable energy projects at home. In addition, professors can also find some inspiring teaching materials.

Renewable Energy by The Energy and Resources Institute. An interactive platform to help kids learn about renewables in an entertaining way.

Renewables. New energy sources by EnergyKids. Defines renewable energy sources, presents each technology, and also provides some entertaing games to keep learning in a funny way.

Les 5 familles energies renouvelables (in French) by Observ'ER. Provides educational sheets to learn about biomass, geothermal, hydro & marine, solar, and wind energies.

Further Resources

If these first suggestions have raised your interest you may want to learn more about renewable energy, and notably from a more practical point of view. The following selected publications may help:

Renewable Energy Systems: The Earthscan Expert Guide to Renewable Energy Technologies for Home and Business, Dilwyn Jenkins (Routledge, 2013), 264 pp. A fully illustrated guide, which provides an overview of which sustainable energy technologies are appropriated for domestic and small business application.

Solar Technology: The Earthscan Expert Guide to Using Solar Energy for Heating, Cooling and Electricity, David Thorpe (Routledge, 2011), 256 pp. An introduction to solar energy explaining how the technologies work, how to best employ them, and their costs and benefits.

Solar Domestic Water Heating: The Earthscan Expert Handbook for Planning, Design and Installation, Chris Laughton (Routledge, 2010), 256 pp. A comprehensive introduction to all aspects of solar domestic water heating systems. Notably shows how the different types of domestic solar water heating systems work, how they are installed, and explains how solar water heating can be integrated into existing water heating systems.

Sustainable Home Refurbishment: The Earthscan Expert Guide to Retrofitting Homes for Efficiency, David Thorpe (Routledge, 2010), 192 pp. A comprehensive handbook for building professionals and contractors, as well as students and homeowners willing to make environmental and financial savings.

In recent years, the "... for Dummies" series also published some interesting books as for example the; Solar Power Your Home For Dummies (Second Edition), Photovoltaic Design and Installation For Dummies, Wind Power Your Home For Dummies, Green Building & Remodeling For Dummies, and Alternative Energy For Dummies, which aim to provide some good help to those who want to take advantage of renewable energy notably in their home.

Dedicated Internet Websites with Practical Information to Switch to Renewables

Hesitating to take the last step to go green? This selection of websites intends to guide you to implement your own renewable energy project.

Australian Government and the Design and Construction Industries. Your . Provides general information to Australian households considering renewable options for their home.

Energies (in French). Provides information about fiscal incentives and related reglementations regarding the implementation of various types of renewable energy projects in France. Les energies renouvelables dans la maison individuelle (in French). Describes different opportunies to invest in renewable energy installations for individual homes. Notably addresses the pros and cons. Erneuerbare Energien (in German). Presents different opportunities to invest in renewables and how to finance them.

Deutsche Energie-Agentur: Einsatzmoglichkeiten erneuerbarer Energien (in German). Gives examples of renewable energy installations for home and their cost.

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland: Renewable Energy for the Homeowner. Helps Irish homeowners to consider different options when thinking of a renewable energy system for their home. Focuses mainly on renewable energy heating.

Energy Saving Helps United Kingdom's households to find out which renewable energy source(s) would suit the best their needs, and what they can expect as a return from their investment. Covers a wide range of technologies, from solar photovoltaic and small-scale wind turbines to solar water heating and ground source heat pumps. Also helps to make the right decision in selecting an installer.

The Eco Helps United Kingdom residents to compare the cost of solar panels.

Renewable Energy Consumer Notably provides a comprehensive "Consumer Guide" for United Kingdom's consumers who are considering generating their own energy from renewable energy souces. In addition, helps to understand the return of investing in renewables and associated risks. UK Solar & Wind Energy Search. Brings together the elements required to invest in small to medium sized renewable energy installations in the United Kingdom.

U.S. DoE Solar, Wind, Hydropower: Home Renewable Energy Installations. Guides American citizens in their reflexion towards adopting renewable energy technologies to power their home.

Solar An online retailer for solar panels and related accessories in the United States. Notably provides a "solar Calculator" which recommends a system size depending on the consumer's desired electric bill savings, monthly average energy usage and solar irradiance location. Also helps to find an installer.

Solar Provides residential solar guides for households interested in investing in solar panel and/or solar thermal in the United States. Helps to find an installer. Provides helpful information, as well as tools and tips to guide consumers willing to invest in solar panels and related accessories in the United States. Provides useful information for households looking forward to investing in solar panels in California. Notably demonstrates the economic benefits of such investment, and guides finding the right installer.

SRoeCo Aims to simplify the solar installation process for customers by providing solar knowledge, calculators, and a sortable, searchable solar panel comparison table.

Build it Solar: The Renewable Energy site for Do-It-Yourselfers. A great website with hundreds of free project plans, tools and information to help build renewable energy projects.

Simply Solar!. An online forum and email listserve of people interested in building their own solar air, water, and electric systems.

GreenTerraFirma. Delivers ideas, information, do it yourself projects (solar thermal & photovoltaics, small wind turbines...) and tools, which the ordinary citizen can use in its everyday life.

Page updated February 22, 2014