The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges 20 collegiate teams from around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. This year for the first time ever, the competition will take place at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California from October 3rd to October 13th.
With each competition, entry into the Solar Decathlon becomes harder and harder. For the 2013 competition, the Department of Energy had to review twice as many proposals as they could accept. While many applications were submitted, only the top 20 most innovative teams were hand selected to build a solar-powered house with the help of university faculty advisors, partners, and sponsors. This years competition will include 9 returning teams, 11 new teams, and 4 international teams. If you think you have what it takes for your university to compete in the 2015 decathlon, start the application process today!
The Solar Decathlon consists of 10 contests; the winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.
As a proud sustaining sponsor of the competition Schneider Electric is supporting 11 of the 20 teams by supplying energy management products for use in the houses. Schneider Electric will also provide technology and engineering services required to implement a fully-functioning micro-grid solution — the connection between the houses and the local utility to provide excess solar energy to the grid. You can read more about the microgrid solution in my next blog post.
Students have been working for over two years now to design and build houses on their local university campuses. At this very moment, each of the student built houses are traveling from collegiate campuses across the word to the event site in California where they will be reassembled. With the event only a few weeks away, students are left to hope that their houses arrive safely on site, and of course for sunny California weather throughout the competition.
As a volunteer for the event in 2011, I can truly say that the event is a spectacle to see. As some would call it, innovation at its finest. The event is free and open to the public so If you are interested in attending, you can find more information at the Solar Decathlon website.
If you are still wondering what it takes to compete in the Solar Decathlon competition, the following infographic outlines what you need to know.