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Energy Department Selects Student Teams to Compete in 2009 Solar Decathlon

January 24, 2008 - 10:53am

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WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the 20 university-led teams selected to compete in the Department's fourth Solar Decathlon, which will be held on the National Mall in Washington, DC, in the fall of 2009.  This year's teams have been selected from universities in the United States, Canada, and Germany and each team will receive $100,000 from DOE to uniquely design, build and operate an energy efficient, fully solar-powered home for this unique competition.  Each home will utilize energy efficient technology and demonstrate that homes powered entirely by the sun do not have to sacrifice all the modern comforts and aesthetics Americans are accustomed to. The Department's Solar Decathlon complements the President's Solar America Initiative, which seeks to make solar power cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015.

"The Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon is more than a student project.  These creative teams will develop livable, working, energy efficient, and marketable home designs powered by cutting edge, currently available solar energy technology," U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said.  "The caliber of this year's proposals was outstanding and we were thrilled with the significant increase in the number of applicants.  It will be exciting to watch as the students work over the next year-and-a-half to design, build, test, and showcase their homes."

The Decathlon gets its name from the 10 specific areas of competition: architecture, engineering, market viability, communications, comfort, appliances, hot water, lighting, energy balance, and transportation.  In addition to producing enough electricity and hot water to perform all the functions of a home, from powering lights and electronics to cooking, washing clothes and dishes, each home must produce surplus energy sufficient to power an electric car.  The team that finishes the week of competition with the most points wins.

Selected design concepts represent a range of building technologies from diverse geographic locations, including those targeted for low-income gulf-state rebuilding, affordable urban renewal, and mass-producible habitats for suburban America.  Applications for the competition were evaluated by a panel made up of engineers, scientists and other experts from DOE and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  Teams were required to meet specific criteria, demonstrating their ability to design and build an innovative, entirely solar-powered, 800-square-foot home from scratch, including the ability to raise additional funds and assemble a team necessary to carry the project through to completion.

In October 2007, an estimated 120,000 visitors turned out on the National Mall to witness Technische Universistät Darmstadt, the University of Maryland, and Santa Clara University and California College of the Arts, take first, second, and third place respectively.  The University of Colorado won the two previous competitions, held in 2002 and 2005.

The following teams have been selected to compete in the 2009 Department of Energy Solar Decathlon:

  • Boston Architectural College/Tufts University (Boston, MA/Medford, MA)
  • Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
  • Iowa State University of Science and Technology (Ames, IA)
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, MO)
  • Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
  • The Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA)
  • Rice University (Houston, TX)
  • Santa Clara University and California College of the Arts (Santa Clara, California/San Francisco, California)
  • Technische Universität Darmstadt (Darmstadt, Germany)
  • Universidad de Puerto Rico (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
  • Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Madrid, Spain)
  • University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
  • University of Calgary/SAIT Polytechnic and Mount Royal College (Calgary and Alberta, Canada)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Urbana, IL)
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY)
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette (Lafayette, LA)
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)
  • University of Waterloo/Ryerson University/Simon Fraser University (Waterloo and Toronto, Ontario and Burnaby, British Columbia in Canada)
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, VA)

DOE's Solar Decathlon supports President Bush's Solar America Initiative, which seeks to make solar a cost-competitive source of energy by 2015.  Learn more about the President's Solar America Initiative.

Read more about DOE's Solar Decathlon.

Media contact(s):

Tom Welch, (202) 586-4940

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