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Solar Decathlon: Rain and Shine

October 20, 2009 - 7:00am


Friday marked the end of the Solar Decathlon competition. Team Germany won (for the second time) in a very competitive field, in a ceremony marked by gray skies, cold temperatures and rain.

For all the bad weather, however, the mood in DC was very upbeat. This was the fourth Solar Decathlon, an event that has seen great strides since its launch in 2002. The mission of the event is to promote solar energy and energy efficiency in buildings, through innovative engineering and scholarly dedication. I would venture to say that this year might mark the event's greatest success, with TWO teams from Canada, as well as returning teams from Germany, Spain and Puerto Rico joining 15 domestic college and university teams.

What do I mean by success? The event is growing every time it's held. And it's becoming more international as well. Beyond communicating the message of renewable and efficient energy here at home, the word is going worldwide. Students are coming here to compete, to show what they can do, and they are brilliant. Every team that brings a home has something stunning to offer, some technological breakthrough or development that amazes and impresses our folks here at DOE.

Sure, it might have rained for the better part of this week, but the mood here is sunny—and already we're looking forward to Solar Decathlon Europe in 2010 and the next Solar Decathlon in DC in 2011. If you weren't able to visit, you can see highlights at the Solar Decathlon Web site. Check it out!