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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Team Germany tops Solar Decathlon competition; UW-M lags

Visitors stand in line to learn about Team Germany's solar-powered house, which won the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009. (Photo by Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

From a news release issued by the U.S. Department of Energy:

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman today announced the winners of the 2009 Department of Energy Solar Competition on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Team Germany, the student team from Darmstadt, Germany, won top honors by designing, building, and operating the most attractive and efficient solar-powered home. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign took second place followed by Team California in third place.

The active competition lasted for a week, with the prototype home designs open to the public through Sunday. Team Germany’s winning “Cube House” design produced a surplus of power even during three days of rain. This is the team’s second-straight Solar Decathlon victory, after winning the previous competition in 2007. . . .

Over the past two weeks, the 2009 Solar Decathlon challenged 20 university-led teams from the United States and as far away as Spain, Germany, and Canada to compete in 10 contests, ranging from subjective elements such as architecture, market viability, communications, lighting design, and engineering, to technical measurements of how well the homes provided energy for space heating and cooling, hot water, home entertainment, appliances, and net metering.

New to this year’s competition, the Net Metering Contest was worth 150 points towards the final results and was the most heavily weighted contest. It challenged teams to generate surplus energy, above and beyond the power needed to run a house, which they fed into a power grid.

Team Germany earned 908.29 points out of a possible 1,000 to win the competition, followed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with 897.30 points, and Team California with 863.08 points.

The UW-Milwaukee team brought up the rear with 524.074 points, largely due to delays in getting the home to Washington. The University of Minnesota Team finished fifth with 838.544 point.

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