In a few hours, the U.S. Department of Energy will announce final results of the Solar Decathlon at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Solar Decathlon is a competition of 20 teams of college and university students to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. There are 10 subjective and objective contests in these categories: architecture, market viability, engineering, lighting design, communications, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment, and net metering. At this time, the engineering and net metering contests are the only scores that have not been released. Is the suspense getting to you yet?
With only the engineering and net metering contests remaining, the Solar Decathlon entry for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is now slightly ahead of other contenders, including Team California and Team Germany. It’s a tight competition, though. Solar Decathlon director Richard King yesterday said Team Germany may just receive approximately 25 more points that the next closest team in the net metering contest. Such a point spread could propel the same to its second straight victory. Nevertheless, Illinois has this beautiful home built with reclaimed materials that can produce up to four times its energy needs at times.
Right now 20 solar-powered homes are competing for bragging rights at the Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. With a few more contests left and the final results this Friday, Team California is edging ahead of the pack. They’ve won both the architectural and communications contests and scored third in the market viability contest. That said, both Team Germany and Cornell are doing some incredible things, and anything can happen. We’ll have to wait and see whether the Refract House can hold on to first.
Team Germany took first prize at Solar Decathlon 2007, and they’re moving up in the rankings this year. After the architectural competition, the team is now solidly in second place with a few more days to go. Could the cube with a solar facade bring last year’s victor its second consecutive win? In 2007, Team Germany had a beautiful home covered in oak louvered frames with integrated photovoltaics. This year, the team of 24 architects and students has furthered the same theme with 40 single-crystal silicon panels on the roof and roughly 250 thin-film CIGS panels on the sides.
Earlier this month, we previewed each of 20 solar-powered homes competing in the Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. Over the next few weeks, we’ll try to delve into more detail to uncover innovation at its best. This house, the Silo House, was designed and built by over 150 students and faculty at Cornell University. It features three, 16-foot diameter silos that hold the kitchen, bedroom, and living room. The Silo House is grid-tied and powered by 40, 200-watt photovoltaic panels, a solar thermal system, and a building integrated solar thermal system. The Silo House currently leads the competition … will they be the team to take first place?
Yesterday, Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) unveiled its new line of DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle. The Solar Shingle was designed to be integrated into rooftops with standard asphalt shingle materials. Dow expects the shingle systems to be available in limited quantities by mid-2010 and more widely available in 2011. And although the company says the system will provide a low-cost solar option for homeowners, we have not received any specific pricing details at this time (see below).