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Photovoltaics and Domestic Hot Water
A Technical and Economic Guide for Project Planners,
Builders, and Property Owners




  • Provides a fundamental understanding of solar DHW and photovoltaic (PV) systems


  • Uses clear guidelines to evaluate solar DHW and photovoltaic systems' value as a long-term investment versus traditional power and heat generation methods


  • Discusses cost and operating expenses relative to investment and return on capital which will be beneficial to project planners, installers, facility and energy managers, builders, and property owners



Solar Energy, Photovoltaics, and Domestic Hot Water

Please scroll down to view all books and associated video book trailers to date. 

Peer Review Comments   ---


      ---This book very effectively lays out all the pertinent criteria necessary to determine the economic benefits of  installing a solar energy system.


     ---With just this book, a property owner or facility manager could make a sound decision on whether it is economically beneficial  to pursue supplementation with solar DHW and/or PVs for their particular site.


     ---Trade technical colleges, community colleges, and technical institutes could use this book as a primer on the practical application of residential and commercial solar energy.


    ---Anyone trying to determine the technical and economic feasibility of supplementing with solar DHW and/or PVs faces a daunting task.  Most people would not know what information they would need in order to begin their evaluation. This book represents a one-stop-shopping resource for that information.



Editorial Review ---

" ... a technical and economic guide...that provides the information necessary for determining whether either a photovoltaic (PV) or domestic hot water (DHW) system makes economic sense...If you are a builder, or property owner planning on installing solar energy systems, this well-written book is definitely worth purchasing." 

                                                                                                               --IEEE Electrical Insulation Magazine

Journey Home: A Novel

Publication Date - February 29th, 2016 


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The Gold Award is bestowed on books that we found to be perfect in their delivery of original content, meticulous development of unique characters in an organic and striking setting, innovative plot that supports a fresh theme, and elegant prose that transforms words into beautifully written books.

                    Journey Home

A Novel

     This is a story based upon the actual life of a cat found abandoned in a dumpster, left to die, with his leg caught in a trap. Born in a small town on the coast of Maine, an unpretentious cat named 'Patches' encounters life changing experiences during his first two years. His siblings are given away, his father abandons him and his mother without explanation, and he's discarded by an uncaring owner and left homeless without food or shelter. As he wanders the streets to piece his life back together, he discovers new friends like Chester, a relocated cat from New York City, who helps him to find food and shelter, and Buster, a neighborhood stray, who teaches him to fend for himself and that it's okay to always try to do the right thing. 


     Patches learns to survive on scraps of food discarded in a garbage dumpster by Harvey Stunk, a short order cook who owns a diner and dislikes rats because they spoil his food supplies. Patches, nonetheless, forms an uncommon friendship with them, and together they consort to play pranks on Harvey as they find ways to tamper with the food served to customers.  During a violent blizzard late one night, a series of events abruptly changes his life once again after he attempts to save Buster from a fire and then returns to the diner's garbage dumpster to seek shelter and food. As he jumps into the dumpster, his leg is ensnared by the steel jaws of a leg-trap and he feels the sharp, razor-like teeth cut into him.  


     Like a doleful cry from an incessant wind, Patches laments his fear of dying and memories of his past and unanswered questions about his father's abandonment engulf his thoughts. He visualizes an overgrown forest trail and images of gnarled trees captured by time in a forgotten graveyard, and he reflects upon a cryptic conversation he and his father  had when they  once wandered among old weathered stone tablets. 


     Will he discover what has become of his siblings, find a new home, and ever understand his father's message and why he abandoned him? Will he survive the cold darkness and discover once again a path that leads to memories and the understanding he seeks?


     This is a story about Patches’ journey from homelessness to finding a new life. It’s a story about losing his sisters and finding them once again and his experiences as he acquires friends, starting from the sad reality of his abandonment on a late September afternoon and continuing into the bleak months of fall and winter in New England.  His journey defines who he becomes as he learns to survive. The realities of life he experiences translate into many lessons from which we all can learn. This is a story written for young adult to any age level to share – a novel that encourages hope and connects us with each other in order to help us see the complexities faced by others. It is a story of hope, a sense of helplessness and despair, the loss of innocence, and conviction – never giving up, no matter the circumstance.  It imparts an insight to appreciate the meaning of friendship, to always move forward, and to evaluate situations before making judgements. It’s a story that could happen to any one of us as we journey from childhood to adulthooda journey that is relevant to all of us.

Editorial Review ---

"An author tells the fictional life story of a real cat... the settings are vividly described... Patches gets into some bad scrapes... He spends the book going from one predicament to another, just trying to survive, but the ending brings the story full circle.  Throughout the novel, Plante's affection and passion for animals are quite evident and his concern is admirable-- A simple tale of a feline's journey that carefully details the plight of stray animals.... cat lovers should enjoy this work."

                                                                                                 --KIRKUS REVIEWS 

Editorial Review ---

"In a detailed account of misfortunes and joys, Russell H. Plante tells the story of an abandoned kitten that learns the intricacies of survival the hard way. While reading this fast-moving tale, I found myself constantly glancing over my shoulder at my own beloved feline friend. When Patches' human family finds itself in dire economic and personal straits, he is tossed out to fend for himself. As he attempts to survive in the "wild", Patches encounters numerous dogs and other homeless cats, one of which is Chester who takes him under his protective wing of street advice. With Chester's help, Patches manages to survive the cruelties of winter while establishing new kinships with a variety of misplaced pets until a serious accident lands him in a new home with ties to a previous life.


Journey Home: A Cat's Tale by Russell H. Plante is a delightfully narrated story reflective of an age-old theme in animal fiction. Plante's tale tugs at the heartstrings with a believable narrative and realistic descriptions even for the non-animal lover. A strong moral character foundation is evident in the camaraderie between animals and humans. Although Journey Home: A Cat's Tale is reminiscent of existing stories, it differs in the concept that the main character basically endures his trials as a singular entity rather than with a partner. Russell H. Plante has created a story worthy of adult and young adult attention with a strong hint of screen time potential. I recommend this novel to readers of all ages and genders."


                                                                                              -- Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite




Editorial Review ---

"If you are looking for a thought-provoking, touching, deeply sensitive and philosophical read that will draw you in and not release you until the very last page, I urge you to add this deeply touching book to your ever-growing cat library. It is simply beautiful. I had a few tears at the end (happy tears). I also had a few chills. I smiled, I cried, but most of all I was happy that I jumped on the opportunity to read this most beautiful story. It is my wish that you will do the same! It was one of the most touching books I have read in some time."

                                                                              --Reviewed by Caren Gittleman of "Cat Chat with Caren and Cody" 

Editorial Review ---

"This is a fascinating book with a thought-provoking story line that brilliantly portrays life, friendship, and love. Based upon a real life story, readers will experience how difficult the life of a stray animal can be: finding food, shelter, making new friends, surviving and defending one's life; all of it is presented in a very creative and engaging way. This is a quick but engaging read that is filled with many life lessons that will remain with readers long after they put the book away."



                                                                                --Reviewed by LITERARY TITAN   (5 STARS)★★★★★



   Publication Date - December 7, 2018 


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                  THE DITHER BIRD

                                                                 A Novel


This is a story about Maxwell Draper, a physicist who receives foreboding radio transmissions from a deep space satellite caught in the boundless expanse of a black hole - prophetic messages of harmful national events yet to occur. As Maxwell examines the obscurity of the communications, he recognizes people's inattention and unawareness to detrimental trends and unremitting transformations occurring within the country. Upon discussing his concerns with Nelson Quip, a friend from college days, Maxwell learns that Nelson is also witnessing harmful transformations in his hometown of Laslo, Maine - a development that will cause the extinction of a forest and its wildlife. Both come to realize that large organizations can obviate the voice of any one individual, that consequential harmful changes can occur because of people's inattention to destructive policies, and that inveterate lies, misrepresented facts, and the deliberate obfuscation of pertinent information to the general public are common links. Will both fail in their resolve? And how does a wayward satellite caught in deep space transmit information relative to events before they have even occurred? Is the effect of gravity and time dilation a scientific reality, revealing a look into our future?


This provocative, contemporary story is based upon actual national events, unheeded warnings about failing policies, and the associated indifference to inaction. It is a philosophical story about perceived decadence in a transitory period of time for a changing nation, about disturbing outcomes caused by people's inattention to factual news reports, and about scientific speculation versus science fiction and fantasy. What will happen if we remain unaware of the facts in a changing world and continue to ignore the troubling events that surround us on a daily basis? The answer is contained in this story - an outcome that only you can decide. The story is an alarming and eye-opening profile of things to come...

"Award-Winning Finalist in the Fiction: Visionary category of the 2019 Best Book Awards"

" Eric Hoffer 2020 Finalist Montaigne Medal Book Award for most thought-provoking"

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Publication Date - October 23, 2020 


A Sense of Purpose


A Novel


“A Sense of Purpose” is a story suffused with wisdom for all creatures, but especially for people, expressing the essence of life through a cat’s struggles and experiences. This is a story about an orphaned cat named Chester and the profound changes that happen to him starting on the streets of Manhattan and ending in a forest in Maine.  His journey is one of self-discovery, homelessness, survival, and the perseverance to search for a friend who vanishes during the worst blizzard in a decade on the coast of Maine. It is a story of how Chester deals with his every day part of life, how his life affects the lives of others, and how he ultimately comes to understand that no matter what we do in our lives, every living being has a sense of purpose.

Editorial Review ---

"A Sense Of Purpose, along with many other life/character lessons,  inspires us to think about how all that has happened in our lives, the people and animals that we have met along the way, all of them  have shaped us into who we are today. It is a heartfelt, moving and inspiring read. I found myself trying to read faster and faster as the events that unfolded piqued my interest and curiosity, and made me want to hurry and read what was going to happen next. While a few tears were shed, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and deeply sensitive and loving read, one that I had trouble putting down. When I am reading books that I will be reviewing, I often dog-ear pages (yes, I know that is an awful thing to do, but I do it!) that contain excerpts that I might wish to refer back to when I am writing my review. When I finished "A Sense of Purpose" and looked to see what I had folded, the number of pages that I had folded were nearly THE ENTIRE BOOK. That is just an example of how compelling, thought-provoking and moving this book is."


                                                         --Reviewed by Caren Gittleman of "Cat & Dog Chat with Caren" 

Editorial Review ---

“Everyone faces hardships in life. Even animals aren’t exempt from that, feral or domestic. Russell H. Plante brilliantly illustrates this aspect of life in his book A Sense of Purpose. In it, he introduces us to Chester, a cat that gets to experience many things, some good, some not so great, and helps us see the purpose that we all have in our lives, one way or another. The story is told from Chester’s perspective. Despite being a cat, there’s so much that people can relate to with his life. What Chester goes through are things that we all go through and experience in our lives. Fear, uncertainty, loneliness, but also hope, friendship and love. Both the beauty and the harsh reality of life is presented in detail throughout the book. Each situation gives Chester a new perspective through which to see life. Readers will immediately feel compassion for the characters introduced throughout the plot, and will be able to relate and empathize with their struggles. There are so many things to like about this book. It is an overall sweet and beautiful story that will resonate with everyone that reads it. Love for those around us, humans and animals, are the main things that I leave with after finishing this book. We all have a sense of purpose, and this book will help you understand that more clearly.”


                                                          --Reviewed by LITERARY TITAN   (5 STARS)★★★★★  

Editorial Review ---

“A Sense of Purpose, by Russell Plante, is a cleverly-crafted, thought-provoking story confirming
that a purpose exists within every living creature. Told uniquely from the POV of a cat, you will be
inspired by these true events. We have a cat who is an orphan, going on a journey through life,
which can be symbolic of our own odyssey. It's about learning how to survive, discovering your
worth, and finding meaning in your life. One of the primary messages is that we are all connected
in some way, and are important to one another. This book takes a philosophical approach to
events that occur, and that even small acts can mean something to someone else, even if we
aren't sure what that purpose is. If you like allegories or sweet stories with cats but a
deeper message, A Sense of Purpose by Russell Plante should be at the top of your reading list.”


                                                          --Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite  (5 STARS)★★★★★   

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Publication Date - July 14, 2021 


 The Path Before Me

A Novel for Middle Grade Readers

         Middle Grade readers from ages 8 to 12 and those who have a love for animals and pets of their own will be drawn to this story. Its heartfelt message provides a sense of social and emotional learning for all readers in order to better understand emotions, compassion, empathy for others, and the value of hope; all elements relevant to developing a healthier society and making the future a better place. This book would be a welcome addition to any family library and any classroom for pet-loving readers.

         Patches, an abandoned kitten born in a cold, damp basement in a small New England town on the coast of Maine, embarks upon a quest to not only find a forever home but to also understand his loss of family. Within a few months of being born, his siblings are given away to other homes and, on a freezing winter day, his father disappears in a nearby forest and never returns. When he is tossed aside by an uncaring owner and abandoned, Patches begins a journey to survive and search for a new home. During his odyssey, Patches befriends two cats, three rats, a deer mouse, a crow, and a peculiar, homeless man named Tate, all of whom have a significant impact on his life and in their own way teach Patches about empathy, compassion, and the value of hope.

         A violent gale-driven blizzard, a life-threatening fire, the jaws of a steel trap, and the discovery of an ancient graveyard are all life changing events that lead Patches to the answers he seeks about his loss of family and to bring about a new beginning. This story of a cat’s resolve to create a new pathway and attain a better life offers an insightful philosophy about overcoming foreboding obstacles. His arduous journey is a thought-provoking story for all to share.

Editorial Review ---

"The Path Before Me by Russell H. Plante takes young (and not so young) readers on a delightful journey of discovery and personal development through the eyes of a wee kitten abandoned early in life in a small town on the coast of Maine. Facing the harsh realities of being abandoned, the kitten must learn about survival; physical, in the blizzards and winter weather of the coast; and emotional, yearning for a sense of belonging and home. Young readers will have much to discuss with peers and in class as The Path Before Me includes tears, mystery, suspense, and laughter. The kitten meets different animals on his journey -other cats and rats, birds and mice - all aiding a discussion about diversity and patience, to learn more about what lies within each living creature rather than judging based on looks or based on the differences between animals. Plante's dialogue between the characters - animals and humans - is realistic and lets the reader contemplate their own feelings about events at a comfortable distance through the characters' development. The humans intermingled in the story also magically mirror the diversity in the way they relate to the different animals: some are kind, some adversarial. Lessons in The Path Before Me by Russell H. Plante are to be found in each chapter. Overall, Patch's journey leaves the reader smiling, reflecting, and remembering there's no place like home."

                                         --Reviewed by Dr. Jordan Alexander for Readers' Favorite  (5 STARS)★★★★★    



Solar Domestic Hot Water by Russell H. Plante
Solar Domestic Hot Water :  A Practical Guide to                      Installation and Understanding


This book was written as a practical guide for the homeowner as well as a textbook for the educational market and explains the function of system components and installation guidelines for solar domestic hot water systems.  It was published by John Wiley and Sons, Inc. when the solar industry was in its infancy and contains helpful information relative to solar domestic hot water systems.  Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


                                 © 2021 by Applied Technologies, Inc.

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