Solar Decathlon will move to Orange County in 2013


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The U.S. Department of Energy’s worldwide competition to build solar-powered, highly energy-efficient homes will move to Orange County in 2013. The biennial Solar Decathlon had been held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., since its inception in 2002. ‘We wanted to find a way to extend the competition’s reach beyond D.C. and showcase energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies across the country,’ DOE spokeswoman Jen Stutsman said. By moving it to Orange County Great Park, in Irvine, ‘we’ll be able to reach millions of Southern Californians and demonstrate for a new audience the benefits that come with energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.’

The DOE selected Orange County Great Park through a national competition. The site was chosen for its ability to accommodate 20 houses, its visitor parking and easy freeway access, as well as favorable weather conditions.


‘California has been at the forefront in leading America toward a clean energy future, developing and showcasing energy efficiency and renewable technologies like solar energy for many years,’ Stutsman said. ‘We’re excited to have the state once again play a role in building an American clean energy future that will create new jobs and help America to compete in the global clean energy race.”

For the Solar Decathlon, 20 teams from colleges and universities across the United States and the world spend two years designing, constructing and testing home designs that combine affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence, according to the DOE.

The announcement about the Solar Decathlon’s move to Southern California in 2013 came on the same day that the DOE announced that three universities from Southern California had been selected to compete, including the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the California Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California. In 2011, Caltech and SCI-Arc competed as a single team -- the first time a So Cal entry had been accepted in the Solar Decathlon. SCI-Arc and Caltech will collaborate again for the 2013 competition.


2011 Solar Decathlon photos

Designs on energy efficiency


California team leads way in Solar Decathlon

-- Susan Carpenter