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U.S. and Spain to Develop Solar Decathlon Europe

October 18, 2007 - 3:21pm


WASHINGTON, DC - Today U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander Karsner and Spain's Undersecretary of Housing Fernando Magro Fernández signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate in the development of a Solar Decathlon Europe competition in 2010.  The Solar Decathlon is a competition launched by DOE in 2002 which challenges university-led teams to build the most attractive and efficient solar-powered homes, held on the National Mall in Washington, DC.  Under the MOU signed today, the DOE will assist in developing a similar event in Europe.

"The twin challenges of increasing energy security and confronting climate change are global in nature - the solutions will require multilateral action.  DOE's Solar Decathlon is supporting a new generation of student engineers, architects, designers, and communicators, while demonstrating that solar energy technologies are available here and now," Assistant Secretary Karsner said.  "With three successful Solar Decathlons to show, the Department of Energy looks forward to lending our expertise to encourage the same innovation and entrepreneurial spirit across the Atlantic and around the world."

Under the non-binding MOU, both countries will exchange information regarding rules, scoring, judging, safety, and site and team selection for a Solar Decathlon Europe event. Spain's Housing Ministry will establish a framework for a European edition of Solar Decathlon in collaboration with DOE. The initial plans call for the Solar Decathlon Europe to take place on years in which a Solar Decathlon is not taking place in the United States.   Both nations will contribute members to an oversight committee, which will approve plans and activities, and evaluate success of the program.

"We have great hope that the development of a European edition of the Solar Decathlon competition, to take place in Madrid in 2010," Spanish Undersecretary of Housing Fernando Magro said. "This event not only furthers the ties between the United States and Europe but it will also further foster the development and use of energy efficient and sustainably developed housing throughout the world."

Three Solar Decathlon events have been held in the United States since 2002 and this year's competition, which ends tomorrow, includes twenty university-led teams from across the United States, Canada, Germany, and Spain.  DOE's Solar Decathlon will continue to be held in the United States; the fourth event will be held in Washington, DC in fall 2009.

The Solar Decathlon complements President Bush's Solar America Initiative, which seeks to make solar energy cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity by 2015.  The U.S. Department of Energy is sponsoring this year's Solar Decathlon, along with its National Renewable Energy Laboratory; the American Institute of Architects; the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers; the National Association of Homebuilders; the U.S. Green Building Council; and private-sector sponsors BP and Sprint.   This year, more than 100,000 people are expected to tour the solar village.

Held on the National Mall in Washington, DC, DOE's Solar Decathlon is open to the public through Saturday, October 20, 2007.   For full event information and high-resolution photos, visit: the Solar Decathlon website.

Media contact(s):

Jonathan Shradar, (202) 586-4940