SolarTown visited a middle school in Washington, DC today. We let the kids borrow a solar oven for the next month so that they can cook up their favorite foods. On SolarTownKids, we have an activity to make your own solar cooker. If you are the parent of a school age kid, you might ask your child to cook you up some food with a solar cooker. And if you have a favorite solar activity to share on SolarTownKids, let us know.
Posts Tagged ‘Solar Decathlon’
You think that the solar industry is just emerging. Well, you may be right, but don’t tell that to the people who have been on the solar home tours for the past 21 years. The 21st Annual Metro Washington, D.C. Tour of Slar and Green Homes took place this past weekend, and if you missed this solar home tour or the one in your area, then you missed out on seeing some of the vibrant solar homes that have taken the solar challenge. This year’s solar home tours, like the Solar Decathlon on the National Mall a week before, was not blessed with sunny weather, but that did not deter the spirits of those who wanted to check out the solar home panels, and solar water heater systems throughout the DC metro region. Despite the rain, solar homeowners were eager to show off their energy efficient houses and to show that, even when it is not sunny, their solar arrays help save on energy costs.
The Solar Decathlon is an event sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, in which students from around the world design, build and operate solar-powered and energy-efficient houses. The team with the house that best incorporates elements such as design excellence, affordability, customer appeal and maximum energy efficiency, wins the competition. The event is meant to educate both the public and the students involved in the project of energy and energy efficiency. The first day of the Solar Decathlon was rainy, which did not deter the visitors as they waited in line to visit each house and discover what made it so special. Fortunately, the rain did not dampen the spirits of the crowds and was no deterrent to this solar event.
OK, the residential solar market did not exactly explode in 2009 as many had hoped in 2008 when the price of oil was approaching $150 a barrel. The world economic crisis, lack of financing, cheap oil, constrained governmental budgets all contributed to a less than lackluster year as measured by the expectations that were set in a rosier time a year earlier. Nevertheless, there are some bright spots and probably the brightest of them all is that as prices for solar panels have come down, and the landscape for economic incentives has stabilized, the solar industry has hit mainstream and more importantly, Main Street.
Congratulations to Team Germany for winning the 2009 Solar Decathlon. With a massive 11.1 kW array, and thin film on the walls, there was no one who could match their net metering prowess. Illinois finished second; California, third, and Ontario fourth. Make no mistake about it. Germany won based on the strength of its PV array. It finished in the top five of the other nine categories, except for communications. On net metering, it received 150—out of a total of 150 points. This is the photo of the winning entry.
The day belonged not to Barack Obama, but to the visionary students on the National Mall who came from not only the US, but also from Canada, Germany and Spain to showcase their solar homes in the Solar Decathalon. There were lines at every house and some of the lines were not short—some people waited for as long as 30 minutes to get into some of the houses.