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Archive for August, 2010

solar power

August 30th, 2010

Solar power involves harnessing the sun’s energy to produce electricity. The main advantage of solar power is that the generation of electricity does not produce any of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. It is also a renewable energy source and does not rely upon the use of fossil fuels.

Despite the tremendous benefits of solar power, there are also some negative consequences. Construction of solar power infrastructure produces outputs that are not environmentally friendly. Building, operating and maintaining solar power technologies also impact upon local flora, fauna and ecosystems. As with most human activities, there will always be a level of ecological impact or footprint. It is just the degree and type of impact that needs to be considered.

The conversion of solar energy into electricity can involve the use of photovoltaics and the concentration of solar thermal power.


The use of solar energy is on the increase. Even in household applications, solar power is being used for the simplest of tasks. From lighting letterboxes to decorative garden lights to powering water features, the use of solar power generation in our daily lives has really taken a turn. We just need to look outside of our homes for all the wonderful ways solar is being used, such as powering road signs and lighting up sea buoys. In the main, photovoltaics are the type of solar power that is most often come across by the average consumer.

Photovoltaics involve the sun being turned directly into electricity. Photovoltaic cells comprise of a semiconductor substance (e.g. silicon). Through a series of processes, electrons are freed and electricity is produced as a result. Although there are problems associated with photovoltaics, such as the small voltages produced, they also have many benefits. The most significant advantage of solar power is that it relies on an abundant resource – one that cannot be depleted. Photovoltaics are also quiet to run and are reliable.

Concentrating Solar Thermal Power

The ability to concentrate solar energy is a simple idea in theory. This form of electricity generation involves using the sun to heat up fluid encased in a receiver. The liquid is heated up to such a high temperature that steam is produced as a result. This steam, in turn, powers a turbine and produces electricity in an attached generator.

There are particular advantages of using concentrated solar thermal power; that is, it is less expensive than other types of solar generation. Perhaps the major advantage to solar thermal technology is that it can be “hybridized”. It can be mixed with fossil fuel technologies and stored. There is much excitement amongst the scientific community over concentrated solar thermal power and its potential.

There are different methods for capturing concentrated solar thermal power, some of which include: Parabolic Troughs; Dishes; and, Solar Tower. Parabolic troughs involve mirrors that are used to concentrate the sun onto receiver tubes. These tubes heat up the fluid and power a turbine to generate electricity. The Dish used in harnessing concentrated solar thermal power also involves mirrors to concentrate the sun onto a position (receiver) on a dish. The heated fluid in the receiver powers a small engine to produce electricity. Solar Towers are also used to concentrate solar thermal power. These towers involve the use of mirrors that track the sun. The receiver is located on the top of the tower and the mirrors concentrate the sun.

Despite humankind employing solar energy technology throughout history, it’s almost as though it had been forgotten – with the more efficient fossil fuels taking its place. Since concern over greenhouse gases and depletion of fossil fuels reserves, however, solar and many of the renewable energy sources have experienced a revival. Scientists are only just beginning to make considerable technological advancements that will help our society transition into using renewable energy as a mainstream energy source.

how to write a cover letter that pops!

August 15th, 2010

When writing a cover letter, the ultimate goal is to grab the attention of your prospective employer and make you stand out over the other candidates.  To do this you will need to use an arsenal of techniques designed to market yourself to employers.  It can be easy to dismiss some of these techniques to save time, but doing so could hurt your chances of landing an interview.

White Space

Employers go through hundreds of resumes and cover letters while hiring.  If they receive a cover letter with little or no white space, their eyes will glaze over and your name will not catch their attention.  Nothing is more boring or dry than staring at a huge chunk of text.  White space is a marketing tactic.  It makes the body of writing easier to read.  You should utilize this marketing tactic when promoting yourself.  With the right amount of white space, your cover letter will look professionally crafted.

Bullet Points

The use of bullet points goes along with white space.  They make your cover letter easier to read.  Your job is to make your employer’s job as easy as possible.  You should use your bullet points to highlight your skills that specifically relate to the position you are applying for.  Most people’s eyes are naturally drawn to the bullet points.  If your bullet points basically sum up the employer’s job description, it will go a long way to landing you an interview.  On the other hand, if your bullet points are unrelated to the position, you will not be considered for your job.  Make sure to take your time when writing your bullet points to ensure you obtain the maximum effect.


It is important to research the company before you write your cover letter.  Doing so will allow you to pick up on company terms and technologies, which you can then incorporate into the body of your cover letter.  Nothing is more powerful than portraying yourself as someone who already invested in the company.


Using a standard professional format on your cover letter is necessary to present yourself as a professional.  If you stray from the format, you cover letter will stand out, but not in a good way.  It will be perceived that you don’t know what you are doing or cannot follow instructions.  Even the most qualified people can be passed over due to a poor format.


If you can find the name of the person who will be reading your cover letter, be sure to include it.  A simple “To Whom It May Concern” can work, but your letter will be much more powerful if you are able to find out the hiring manager’s name.  It will show that you did your research before submitting your cover letter.

Spelling and Grammar

The biggest mistake you can make when submitting a cover letter to a company is neglecting to proofread it.  One spelling mistake or grammar error will turn your cover letter that pops into a cover letter that flops.  Even if you think your grammar is perfect, double check a couple times before you submit it.

Show Enthusiasm

You will need to show that you are excited about this job opportunity, even if you are not.  Enthusiasm can be hard to convey in writing, so you will need to include little tidbits at the end like “I am looking forward to speaking with you” or “you can reach me at”.  Even though these statements might seem pushy, they let everyone know what your intentions are.

Writing a really good cover letter can be time consuming, but it can also be a doorway into a new career.  By crafting a well writing cover letter that pops, potential employers will be more likely to want to sit down and talk with you.  After that happens, it’s time to brush up on those interview skills.