GEP 476 Small Scale Energy Sources Syllabus, Spring 2021

Instructor Daniel Soto
Classroom --
Meeting Time MW 3:00 -- 4:50 pm
Units 4
Office --

Office Hours and Email

Signup is online and can be accessed through my website at Please meet with me during office hours for any grade checks or other issues that require individual attention.

When you send email, please put [GEP 476] in your subject line. This helps me identify and respond to student emails more quickly.

Course Catalog Description

Course will focus on functional design of small-scale wind, photovoltaic, biomass, and hydroelectric energy sources. Siting, evaluating potentially available power, design of fully operable installation, and by-products and waste streams will be discussed. Energy storage mechanisms, interconnections to existing energy networks, and energy cost comparisons will be examined. Prerequisite: GEP 474, GEP majors, junior- or senior-level standing, or consent of instructor.

Course-level Learning Objectives

  • Understand science and economics of renewable electricity sources
  • Perform detailed calculations of energy production and economic value of renewable energy sources
  • Communicate quantitative aspects of electricity generation

Class Organization and Schedule

Course Schedule

  • Mon 25 Jan -- Wed 03 Feb, Electricity Concepts
  • Mon 08 Feb -- Wed 17 Feb, Circuit Models
  • Mon 22 Feb -- Wed 03 Mar, Batteries
  • Mon 08 Mar -- Wed 17 Mar, Motors
  • Mon 22 Mar -- Wed 24 Mar, Spring Break
  • Mon 29 Mar, Review
  • Wed 31 Mar, Cesar Chavez
  • Mon 05 Apr -- Wed 14 Apr, Solar Energy
  • Mon 19 Apr -- Wed 28 Apr, Computation
  • Mon 03 May -- Wed 12 May, Financial Engineering

Coursework Components and Requirements

Pre-Class Assignments

There will often be assignments due the night before class. These may be readings and questions or short calculations. Usually, we will then convene as an entire class and discuss the assignment.

These assignments will be posted on Canvas.

Post-Class Assignments

There will often be assignments due in the evening after class. These assignments are usually the completion of an activity from class.

You are encouraged to work in teams and discuss the strategies and even numerical answers you are getting. You are strongly discouraged from looking at other students completed assignments before it is due. If you look at your classmates completed work, you are denying yourself the opportunity to construct the solution on you own and this can prevent you from developing your skills.

Class Texts

You are not required to purchase any texts for this class. All course readings will be made available online.

You may be required to buy a one-semester subscription (for about $10) to a tool we will use called SageMathCloud.


In the place of quizzes and exams, you will complete several assessments that test your knowledge of the material.

You will complete a written essay, problem, or estimation. Most times, you will screencast your work and narrate the solution and your thought process.


  • A: 90% of assessments passed, 90% of assignments completed on time
  • B: 80% of assessments passed, 80% of assignments completed on time
  • C: 70% of assessments passed, 70% of assignments completed on time
  • D: 60% of assessments passed, 60% of assignments completed on time

Reflection Essays

You will complete a number of short essays that ask you to connect the concepts in class to current events or to your own experience. You will find the assignments on Canvas.

Class Norms and Agreements

Respectful tone in classroom

Civility is required from all students during discussions and interactions. In general, I expect students to be completely supportive of each others learning goals.

Willingness to take risks and experiment

I frequently try new approaches to teaching and learning. These are always with the intention of making this class as beneficial to you as possible.

Coronavirus Pandemic

As of late January 2021, the number of new cases per day in Sonoma County is at an all-time high. This means the probability of coronavirus negatively affecting your life and your studies is higher than ever. In the event that your life is directly or indirectly disrupted by the virus, let me know and we'll construct a plan.

University Policies

There are important University policies that you should be aware of, such as the add/drop policy; cheating and plagiarism policy, grade appeal procedures; accommodations for students with disabilities and the diversity vision statement. Go to this URL to find them.

Also important are the policies around withdrawals or incompletes and your options if you or your family falls ill. The university policies can be found at this link.

Basic Needs

Any student who believes their performance in the course may be affected by their access to sufficient food, stable housing, or their citizenship status is encouraged to seek out assistance from Sonoma State. If you are comfortable with it, please notify me as well so I can help direct you to any available resources.

Natural Disasters

If the campus is closed, any assignments or work that were due during the closure will be postponed. When the campus is reopened, we will discuss a new schedule and new assignment due dates. If you are personally affected by a natural disaster but the campus isn't closed, you will be granted extensions on any work.