News: Japan goes for the sun

Government pushes to regain national lead in solar-energy research.Tens of thousands of Japanese homes and businesses are preparing to put new solar panels on their roofs, spurred by a subsidy plan going into effect this month. It is a step towards regaining Japan's once-dominant position in solar energy, something that has become a matter of pride for the country's policy-makers. from: "Japan goes for the sun" - Nature 458, 1084-1085 (2009)

3 Ways You Can Benefit From Solar Panels

As the potential energy crisis worsens with unprecedented climate change and more and more oil beginning to hit its peak, innovative businesses and people worldwide are looking for alternative methods of producing energy. Wind power, ethanol fuel, and solar power are among the top performers when it comes to alternative (and renewable) energy, and solar power in particular is being recommended by more converts to family and friends as the days go by. 

Currently, one of the best ways to utilize solar power is through solar panels. Roofs and other parts of the house pointing upwards are the best places to put your solar panels, so that you can get the most out of the sun's ultraviolet rays. Below are some of the many ways that you can benefit from using solar panels, roof or otherwise, and reap the rewards – starting today:

Saving Money

It's no mystery that electricity bills are quickly rising in cost, due to the shakiness and instability of the present day global economy. Since prices on everything else are going up, electric companies have had to raise their prices to fight against inflation as well. The bad thing about this is that the costs aren't passed on to the consumer (you), and as a result you end up spending more on energy that really should only take a few dollars to produce. 

When you buy solar panels for home usage, you are investing in a form of energy that takes much less work to produce, provides actual renewable energy, and at a once in a lifetime cost (unless of course you need something repaired). This is a great deal for anyone, whether you consider yourself an alternative energy guru or not. It's just common sense.

A Sleek Look

Once you get involved with solar panel construction, you'll see that it adds a whole new level of aesthetic appeal to your home. Your neighbors will be jealous that you're saving on energy costs, and the fact that you're house now has a sleek, cool new look that you otherwise wouldn't possess. Whenever I've seen a home decked out with solar panels, I always perform a double take because of how impressive and nice they usually look. When everything's said and done, solar panels just look cool. 

They also show that you're a person with a 21st century mindset, and understand that we won't be able to keep our current energy schemes up for very much longer. This ties in directly with the third benefit of using solar panels, roof or otherwise.

Helping The Environment

Since you won't be adding to the potential energy crisis with over-consumptive tendencies, you'll be doing your part in helping the environment and saving the planet. I believe it's up to each individual to recognize their over-consumption, and to do something about it. We all play a part in the coming energy changes that are, without a doubt, taking place. 

When you buy solar panels for home usage and energy needs, you are affirming your role as a caring member of the human race. Solar energy efficiency is something that we all need to look into. By doing so, you've taken the first step in saving our planet from climate change and global warming.

Careers in Renewable Energy - Book Review

I just finished reading "Careers In Renewable Energy: Get A Green Energy Job" by Gregory McNamee. I've read almost every book that comes out on the topic of green jobs. I can say with conviction, that this is one of the best books available in the green career genre.

We all hear about green jobs, but most people have no idea how to go about getting one. In this book the author will provide you with a roadmap to get involved in a career that makes a difference. All of the major components of renewable energy are covered, from solar, wind, and hydrogen. I really like this because a lot of other books that I read just focus on solar power.

The best part of the book for me is the focus on college students and how they can begin preparing for a green career. The author outlines specific courses to take and different ways that students can strengthen their skill sets to be prepared to land a job in the renewable energy sector. The author also dives into many of the available resources on the Internet that can help, including the best jobsites to search for green jobs. This was very helpful because most students use the Internet these days to search for jobs.

My one criticism of the book is that the author almost completely ignores current workers. I think it would have been helpful if he had a chapter devoted to career changers and how one can transition into a career in renewable energy. 
In closing, I would recommend this book to every college student that is looking to obtain a meaningful career upon graduation.

Dan Keller is the CEO of the popular Green Jobs site. He also runs a Teen Jobs site.