Power of the sun: Solar Decathlon challenge

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Solar Decathlon Collegiate teams from across the U.S. compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.

From the demands on our oceans to the rapidly growing demand for renewable energy on land, more and more people are turning towards the sun as a safe, clean and sustainable power source.

In homes, solar panels can help save money on energy costs and help conserve the planet’s resources. But some homeowners have resisted solar energy because of the cost and lack of visual appeal. However, some collegiate designers are trying to change that. They’re competing in the Solar Decathlon, a nationwide contest hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy to see who can build the most attractive, cost-effective and solar efficient home.

“These are zero-net energy houses, they produce as much or more of the energy they need for their house and an electric car with the solar systems that are on their house,” said Solar Decathlon Director Richard King.

Power of the sun: Solar Decathlon challenge

Power of the sun: Solar Decathlon challenge

Full Frame Contributor Sandra Hughes gives us a glimpse of the latest Solar Decathlon competiton.


One home is designed as a modern beach cottage. But, as A.J. Elliot of the Stevens Institute of Technology explained, it becomes storm resistant when faced with intense weather conditions.

“We have various systems that can deploy and various construction methods that we’ve adopted from the marine boating industry that we implemented into our marine boating architecture to have it withstand the next hundred-year storm we might face.”

Full Frame Contributor Sandra Hughes takes a look at this student competition.