Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (RESS)

Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (RESS) Policy changes, technological advances, and an increased awareness of the world's resources are creating a growing need around the globe for advanced expertise in renewable and sustainability systems. There is an urgent need to prepare professionals who can serve as leaders of the emerging "green" economy.

Penn State's RESS programs deliver world-class, interdisciplinary education to professionals in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability that empowers them to lead the transformation of our nation's economy to a renewable, sustainable basis of operation. Options are available in Sustainability Management and Policy and Solar Energy. Much of the course content for the RESS program is available here as part of our Open Educational Resources.

Advanced Energy Policy

Credit: Solar Powered Landscape by Dennis Dimick is licensed under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Course Description

Energy policy is typically evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary. We can look to historical policies to understand how we've inherited the policies governing our energy use today. But looking backward only tells us part of the story. In the face of climate change, we need to look ahead and instead envision a more revolutionary change to our energy systems and the policies that govern them. This class takes you on that journey to energy policies past, present, and future.

Course Description

EME 812 explores the main physical principles of core solar energy conversion systems, including direct power conversion photovoltaics, concentrating photovoltaics (CPV), and thermal conversion to electricity via concentrating solar power strategies (CSP). It also covers the fundamentals of enabling technologies such as light concentration, solar tracking, power conversion cycles, power conditioning and distribution.

Solar Resource Assessment and Economics

Credit: Photovoltaic System by andreas160578 is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Are you interested in Solar Energy? Solar Resource Assessment and Economics explores the methods, economic criteria, and meteorological background for assessing the solar resource with respect to project development of solar energy conversion systems for stakeholders in a given locale. It provides students with an in-depth exploration of the physical qualities of the solar resource, estimation of the fractional contributions of irradiance to total demand, and economic assessment of the solar resource.

Sustainability and Non-Market Enterprise

Credit: White Windmill by fxxu is licensed under CC0

Course Description

The primary goal of this course is to provide a toolset for characterizing and strategizing how nonmarket forces can shape current and future renewable energy markets. The course approaches the exploration and explanation of key concepts in renewable energy and sustainability nonmarket strategies through evidence-based examples. Main topics for the course include: a sociological approach to markets, renewable energy markets, nonmarket conditions, complex systems analysis, and renewable energy technology and business environments.

Course Description

EME 807 overviews a wide range of contemporary technologies in the context of sustainability and examines metrics for their assessment. The course explores the main principles that guide modern science and technology towards sustainable solutions. It covers such topics as resource management technologies, waste and wastewater treatment, renewable energy technologies, high performance buildings and transportation systems, application of informatics and feedback to sustainable systems, and more.

Credit: Light Hands Bulb Bright 911919 by Ruben Rubio licensed under CC0

Course Description

Are you prepared to find strategic opportunities for sustainability-driven innovation within your business or organization? This engaging course will prepare you to do just that. BA 850 will give you the tools and practical experience needed to discern consumer and organizational needs related to sustainability, to create unique offerings to meet sustainability needs, and to develop innovative processes necessary to test and refine sustainable solutions.

Course Spotlight

From Advanced Python Programming for GIS (GEOG 489), learn advanced applications of Python for developing and customizing GIS software, designing user interfaces, solving complex geoprocessing tasks, and leveraging open source.Visit the course.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Tim Bralower standing on a research ship

Dr. Tim Bralower (Ph.D. 1986, Earth Sciences, University of California) is Professor of Geosciences at Penn State. He studies ancient climate change and mass extinction from the geological record. He has participated in five expeditions with the International Ocean Discovery Program and conducted field studies from Europe to the Caribbean and South America. He is a former Fulbright Scholar and a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. Bralower was Head of the Department of Geosciences for nine years. See what Dr. Bralower has to say about online education in Earth Sciences.