Navigating Today’s Complex Energy Landscape – Volume 4

What We Call “Alternative” Today Will Soon Become Mainstream

The technology surrounding alternative and renewable energy solutions continues to evolve as more emphasis is placed on economic development, climate change and America’s dependence on foreign energy sources. The stimulus programs initiated on the federal, state and local levels have also increased awareness and promoted interest in these technologies and strategies.

The term alternative energy refers to an energy source that minimizes negative impacts to the environment. These are sources that are produced without the use of fossil fuels such as gas, coal and oil. Alternative energy includes alternative fuel sources such as renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal power, as well as biomass.

Some of the most common alternative energy solutions seen in our region are: 

  • Photovoltaic arrays
  • Solar domestic water heating
  • Combined heat and power systems
  • Biomass systems
  • Geothermal.

It is important to know that each of these technologies requires careful analysis to determine whether  they are applicable for their intended use.  Site conditions and physical space requirements, along with the availability of resources such as solar power and wind are just a few factors to consider when evaluating these types of energy improvements. An energy model can help to determine which, if any, of these alternative solutions align with your strategic energy plan and meet your facility’s goals in terms of cost, maintenance and operation.

For more information on alternative and renewable energy solutions, contact Michael Rader, PE at or (717) 845-7654.

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