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Direct and diffuse solar radiation (Practical Action)
Solar thermal energy. The sun is the source of the vast majority of the energy we use on earth. Most of the energy we use has undergone various transformations before it is finally utilized, but it is also possible to tap this source of solar energy as it arrives on the earth’s surface.

There are many applications for the direct use of solar thermal energy, space heating and cooling, water heating, crop drying and solar cooking. It is a technology which is well understood and widely used in many countries throughout the world. Most solar thermal technologies have been in existence in one form or another for centuries and have a well-established manufacturing base in most sun-rich developed countries.

The most common use for solar thermal technology is for domestic water heating. Hundreds of thousands of domestic hot water systems are in use throughout the world, especially in areas such as the Mediterranean and Australia where there is high solar insolation (the total energy per unit area received from the sun). As world oil prices vary, it is a technology which is rapidly gaining acceptance as an energy saving measure in both domestic and commercial water heating applications. Presently, domestic water heaters are usually only found amongst wealthier sections of the community in developing countries.

Parabolic basket and tin can solar cooker

Creating a solar cooker out of local invasive species and waste materials in order to pasteurize water and be an alternative to the use of fossil fuels for cooking food.

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Community action news

Critical Mass Chicago 050826.jpg
Nov 16 Chicago: Come for the fun, stay for the revolution [1]

Nov 14 Climate news 2017: Record Emissions: 41 Billion Tons of Heat-Trapping Carbon Dioxide Were Added to the Atmosphere This Year[2]

Nov 13 Climate news 2017: COP23: Where is the place for community-led initiatives? [3]

Nov 10 Towards sustainable economies news: Building resilience [4]

Nov 10 Spain: Climate Change Related Drought Bakes the Iberian Peninsula [5]

Read More...


Suzuki in 2009
We don't know what details of a truly sustainable future are going to be like, but we need options, we need people experimenting in all kinds of ways and permaculturists are one of the critical gangs that are doing that.

David Suzuki W
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Visit the Energy Portal

Aleiha's parabolic solar cooker
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems. Since work is defined as a force acting through a distance (a length of space), energy is always equivalent to the ability to exert pulls or pushes against the basic forces of nature, along a path of a certain length.

Sustainable energy is the provision of energy that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainable energy sources are most often regarded as including all renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectricity, solar energy and power, wind power, wave power, geothermal energy and power, biomass fuel and energy, and tidal power. It usually also includes technologies that improve energy efficiency.

While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas, where energy is often crucial in human development. As of 2011, small solar photovoltaic (PV) systems provide electricity to a few million households, and micro-hydro configured into mini-grids serves many more. Over 44 million households use biogas made in household-scale digesters for lighting and/or cooking, and more than 166 million households rely on a new generation of more-efficient biomass cookstoves.

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HSU Chiapas Program 2010: Humboldt State University's 2010 summer immersion in Appropriate Technology and Spanish Language & Culture took place in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. In 2010, we worked with Otros Mundos and various community members in San Cristobal de las Casas and near Acteal to collaboratively build three improved cookstoves, three rainwater catchment systems, windbelt prototypes, microhydro power feasibility studies, and a biogas digestor.

Practivistas Chiapas 2010 Projects
HSU Chiapas improved cookstoves
Improved cookstoves at Otros Mundos and in a rural community
(en español)  
HSU Chiapas micro hydro feasibility study
Microhydro feasibility study in a few rural communities
(en español)  
HSU Chiapas Windbelt ASE
Windbelts at Otros Mundos
(en español)  
HSU Chiapas biodigester
Biodigester at a demo house in San Cristobal  
HSU Chiapas rainwater catchment
Rainwater catchment systems at a demo house and in a rural community
(en español)  
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