Monday, January 26 2009

Jan. 26, 2009 Tips from the University of Idaho Sustainability Center MOSCOW, Idaho – In the near future we are going to need to rely on renewable sources for our energy and fuel consumption. The surrounding environment has an array of options that can serve these functions. The University of Idaho Sustainability Center provides these tips about solar radiation, which is a powerful source of energy.
  • Solar energy derived from heat and light from the sun. It powers the climate, weather and life on earth, and can be harnessed to power numerous areas of our lives.
  • Sunlight can be converted into forms of energy, such as heat and electricity. This conversion can occur through the use of solar or photovoltaic cells. These cells are used in the construction solar panels, solar modules and photovoltaic arrays.
  • These panels, modules and arrays are used in power stations, domestic homes, office buildings, and some types of transportation to provide heat as well as electricity for appliances and other electrical utilities.
  • Utilizing solar power will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption because it has the capacity to replace the need for fossil fuel power plants.
  • Currently, the demand for solar power has not been high enough to reduce the cost of producing it. As demand goes up, the price of solar power will decrease because solar grids will have the ability to expand and become more accessible and manageable.
  • In recent years, new technologies have been developed involving solar power. One such technology is concentrating solar power, also known as CSP. This technology utilizes mirrors to reflect and focus sunlight to produce heat. This heat, in turn, is used to produce electricity with the use of a steam turbine or generator.
  • By replacing non-renewable resources with renewable resources like the sun, we can reduce the demands placed on the earth and our pocket books.
  • As increasing environmental awareness drives interest in sustainable practices, the University of Idaho continues to seek sustainable initiatives to meet the current and future needs of society and to contribute to the quality of life and the natural resources in Idaho, the nation and the world. For more information about the university’s sustainability efforts, contact the University of Idaho Sustainability Center at or visit # # # About the University of Idaho Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit Media Contact: Melissa Shumake, UISC Communications Coordinator, (208) 885-0127,

    About the University of Idaho
    The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit