US DOE Solar Decathlon 2013 - EmPower Solar

US DOE Solar Decathlon 2013

Greetings from the road. Greg and I just returned from the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Competition in Irvine, California, this week and are now preparing to leave for Chicago for the annual Solar Power International conference. You can view a gallery of pictures here.

The Solar Decathlon, as always, was an amazing experience. It was inspiring to see the teamwork and friendly competition between students from all over the world.

The takeaway from the competition is clear. We can build technologically advanced and comfortable homes that achieve net zero energy consumption. This year 19 student led teams from around the world just demonstrated this. Each team had a positive energy balance, meaning they produced more solar than the homes consumed. This is a competition first, and a reflection on how mature the technologies are.

The Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The first Solar Decathlon was held in 2002; the competition has since occurred biennially in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011. We are moved by the Department of Energy employees for continuing to work through the government shutdown this year.

EmPower had a defining experience co-leading the NYIT/USMMA Solar Decathlon house in 2005, and we founded and helped lead the international Solar Decathlon Alumni Association. The Solar Decathlon remains a vital source of inspiration and direction for our work.

We also want to take a moment to send a sincere thank you to the over fifty students who participated in the EmPower Solar Student Competition and family night this year. We were grateful for your involvement and proud of the student’s hard work. We’re hoping that the competition was just the beginning of their relationship with EmPower, and your involvement with renewable energy and sustainability.

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