18 Student Teams to Participate in DOE's Second Solar Decathlon

June 9, 2005

DOE announced on June 9th that 18 teams from colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, and Spain will participate in the second Solar Decathlon competition in Washington, D.C. The event runs from October 7th through the 16th and requires each Solar Decathlon team to build and operate an energy-efficient solar-powered home on the National Mall, forming a temporary "solar village." As the name suggests, each Solar Decathlon team will compete in 10 contests that will judge architecture, livability, comfort, and power generation for heating and cooling, water heating, and powering lights and appliances, including an electric car. The event, which is open to the public, will feature cutting-edge architecture, engineering, and technology that could be applied in homes today, allowing them to generate their own energy, not simply consume it.

Photo of three team members on scaffolding and the roof of a small building, installing blue solar panels.

The University of Puerto Rico team installs solar electric panels on the roof of its house during the
2002 Solar Decathlon.
Credit: NREL

For the past two years, the 18 teams have worked on the design, research, and testing necessary to construct and power these homes. Fifteen teams are representing colleges and universities in 13 states: California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. The remaining three teams are from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico; Montreal, Quebec; and Madrid, Spain. Because of time constraints, the teams partially build their entries on or near their campuses and then ship the entries to Washington, D.C.—a necessity that creates special challenges for the teams from the West, Puerto Rico, and Spain. See the DOE press release.

The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is sponsoring the Solar Decathlon, along with DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the American Institute of Architects, the National Association of Home Builders, BP, the DIY Network, and Sprint. The first-ever Solar Decathlon in 2002 featured examples of ingenuity such as homes with translucent walls that provided light and insulation, solar-heated fluid that flowed under floors to provide warmth, and fiber optic cables that transmitted light from solar collectors into a home. This year's competition will once again employ a wide-range of innovative technologies to demonstrate the tremendous possibility of solar power and other renewable energy sources. To learn more about the teams, the 10 contests, and the event in general, see the Solar Decathlon Web site.