June 9, 2009

Solar Decathlon participants identified

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the participants and dates for its 2009 Solar Decathlon.

The Oct. 9-18 competition in Washington challenges students to design and develop houses that can provide their own energy from sunlight.

The 20 collegiate teams from the United States, Canada, Spain and Germany will each build a completely self-sufficient solar powered house, showcasing energy-efficient amenities and smart home systems that provide reduced carbon emissions without sacrificing the comfort of modern conveniences, officials said.

The fourth annual Solar Decathlon will take place on the National Mall and will consist of 10 individual contests that evaluate the teams' skills in architecture, home design, and communications.

The houses must produce enough electricity and hot water from solar panels to perform all the normal functions of a home and a new net-metering contest will evaluate each home's ability to produce its own power, officials said.

Following the Oct. 8 opening ceremony, the homes will be open for public tours.

A list of the participating colleges and universities is available at http://www.solardecathlon.org/teams.html.