SEI Newsletter
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Issue 85 - May 2010
Women's Workshops and More!
Solar Sisters
For all of you women out there who have wanted to learn about solar electricity, now is your chance. SEI has two Women's PV workshops this summer for both beginners and those with solar experience.

There are also upcoming workshops in Micro-Hydro Power, Solar Hot Water, and Solar Water Pumping. Check out the workshops below:

Youth Build Solar Suitcases for Haiti
RE for Educators
SEI is teaching youth to build small solar photovoltaic systems that fit in a suitcase, based on the WE CARE Solar model (see story below). Our pilot project involves the young mothers who are students at Yampah High School, in Glenwood Springs, CO. These young women have learned about renewable energy, sustainable design, energy efficiency, and what they can do in their own lives to help.

During the final two sessions, we are building the "solar suitcases" which will then be sent to Haiti to provide much needed light and communication in health clinics. Big thanks to the Aspen SkiCo Environment Foundation for funding this project.

For teachers interested in learning how to incorporate these lessons into their own classrooms, SEI is offering two Renewable Energy for Educators workshops. Both courses will include hands-on projects that can be employed in the classroom, and in the Advanced course participants will build a model solar village complete with its own solar-powered grid, assemble solar suitcase lighting systems for developing world clinics, and make a birdhouse using natural building techniques.

Solar Lighting for Haiti
RE for Educators
Thanks to the generosity of the Paonia & Carbondale communities and the support of our partners in the solar industry SEI was able to assist SunEnergy Power International in funding 40 lighting systems to people in Haiti.

SunEPI’s project engineers were able to distribute, train the end users, and install the lighting sytems on a trip this month while down there assessing future solar projects. Some of the recipients of the lighting systems included orphanages in the Port au Prince area that had no lighting at night, a composting toilet in a tent camp, and a community church of 300 people.

Special thanks goes to AEE Solar, Backwoods Solar, UniRac, Morningstar, Phocos, Power Sonic Corp, Hitney Solar Products, and Earthbound Solutions for making this project a success.

BP Oil Disaster Continues Wreaking Environmental Havoc
BP oil spill
The BP Deepwater Horizon drilling-rig disaster is expected to become one of the largest oil disasters in North American history. It has claimed the lives of 11 workers and now threatens Gulf coast waters, beaches, wildlife and communities.

The Sierra Club is asking people to sign a petition urging President Obama to stop all new drilling off America's coasts immediately. Click here to sign the petition. To learn more about this environmental disaster, visit the Sierra Club website.

Solar Suitcases Saving Women's Lives
In northern Nigeria, 1 out of 18 women die in childbirth. Dr. Laura Stachel of We Care Solar wants to change that. Laura and her husband, Hal Aronson who is a solar educator and instructor for SEI, have developed a portable solar electric system that fits in a suitcase. The "solar suitcase" powers lights and communication equipment for rural health clinics. They are now being used in nine countries.

We Care Solar is currently a finalist in the Ashoka Changemaker's Healthy Mother Strong World Competition, and Laura has been nominated for the Our Bodies Ourselves Health Heroes award. To vote in these competitions click on the links. Winning these awards can help We Care Solar obtain more funding for their programs.

Learn more about We Care Solar through this CBS segment or by visiting their website.

Germany's Solar PV Industry: A Victim of its Own Success?
Chile earthquake
photo: Stashpocket
With some irony, it appears that the success of German's solar photovoltaic feed-in tariffs, enshrined in the Renewable Energy Sources Act, or Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz (EEG), has lead to the federal government's proposal to cut them.

David Appleyard of Renewable Energy World magazine reports that Berlin has decided to accelerate the annual rate by which it will reduce the solar feed-in tariff from five percent to ten percent, partly because the overwhelming success of the scheme lead to concerns that its generous support was causing a proliferation of solar installations that were becoming less affordable as the German economy entered recession.

Read the entire article on

SEI Plants Garden to Honor Walt Ratterman
Walt's Garden
On Earth Day SEI staff planted a garden on our Ecocampus in memory of Walt Ratterman. Walt was a tireless solar advocate who worked to bring solar electricity to some of the most dangerous places on earth. He perished in the Haiti earthquake this past January and is sorely missed.

SEI also has a Walt Ratterman Scholarship Fund for people from the developing world who would like to attend SEI workshops. Click here if you would like to contribute to the fund. If you would like to apply or nominate someone to receive the scholarship, please contact SEI.

Upcoming Events
MREF logo
The Energy Fair
June 18 - 20, 2010 - Custer, WI

The nation's premiere energy education event, with over 275 exhibitors and 200 workshops.

6th Annual Small Wind Conference
June 15 - 16, 2010 - Stevens Point, WI

The premier event for small wind-electric system designers and installers, and for those involved in sales, specification, management, funding, and permitting of small wind systems.

Colorado Renewable Energy Conference
June 18 - 20, 2010 - Montrose, CO

A conference sponsored by the Colorado Renewable Energy Society and the Denver Montrose Electric Association.

International Peace Park Expedition
June 7 - 26, 2010 - Balkans

Be one of the first to explore the Balkans Peace Park - a trans-national, cross-border park in the adjoining mountainous region of Kosovo, Montenegro and northern Albania.

Your Generosity Ensures our Success!
SEI welcomes new members! As a membership-based non-profit, SEI's members are the heart of our organization and allow us to continue our educational programs. SEI staff are passionate about the work we do and membership dues help sustain our renewable energy endeavors.

Please join us! Membership benefits include (depending on membership level) discounts on workshops and a one year subscription to either Home Power or E magazine.

Click here for details on how to become an SEI member.

To all SEI members...SEI sends thanks!
In This Issue

Women's Workshops and More!

Youth Build Solar Suitcases for Haiti

Solar Lighting for Haiti

BP Oil Disaster Continues Wreaking Environmental Havoc

Solar Suitcases Saving Women's Lives

Germany's Solar PV Industry: A Victim of its Own Success?

SEI Plants Garden to Honor Walt Ratterman

Upcoming Events

Your Generosity Ensures our Success!

Featured Workshop
Solar Hot Water
June 14- 18, Fontana (SunEarth Inc.), CA

Join SEI for their new and improved Solar Hot Water workshop, including hands-on labs for five different system types. Taught by expert instructors Chuck Marken, Home Power and Solar Pro Thermal Editor, and Tim Dawson.

Hands-On Workshops

View all hands-on workshops >

Solar Electric Fundamentals & Grid Direct Design
July 12 - 16, Flagstaff, AZ
August 2 - 6, Boulder, CO

Grid Direct Solar Electric Lab Week
June 21 - 25, Paonia, CO
June 28 - July 2, Paonia, CO

Micro-Hydro Power
May 31 - June 4, Paonia, CO

Solar Hot Water
June 14 - 18, Fontana, CA

Online Courses

View all Online Courses >

Please register early. These courses will fill.

Building for the Future: Sustainable Home Design
June 21 - August 1, Online

Solar Electric Fundamentals and Grid-Direct Design
June 21 - July 25, Online

Grid Direct PV Systems and Code Criteria
June 21 - August 1, Online

International Workshops

Sign up early to reserve your seat.

Renewable Energy and Nature Tour of Costa Rica
November 7 - 18, COSTA RICA

Renewable Energy for Rural Villages
December 1 - 9, NICARAGUA

Wind Power for Rural Communities
December12 - 20, NICARAGUA

Browse Workshops
International - Rural Development

Micro-Hydro Power

Renewable Energy for Educators

Solar Electricity (Photovoltaics)

Solar Thermal

Sustainable Building

Sustainable Transportation

Wind Power

Women's Workshops

SEI welcomes new business member:

Lightwave Solar Electric · Antioch, TN


Solar Energy International has a strong community presence on social networks. Please consider joining these SEI groups:

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PO Box 715 Carbondale, CO 81623
39845 Mathews Lane Paonia, CO 81428
970-963-8855 - fax: 970-963-8866 -

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