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Environment & Science

Here comes the sun: Dept. of Energy to bring Solar Decathlon to California

Photo: Mike Spasoff/Flickr

 There sure is a lot of solar energy flying around these parts lately. Just this week we saw a sun storm that didn’t result in global catastrophe (yet), and we learned that California is still far and away America’s most solar powered state, and by a lot.

Still, it came as something of a surprise this week when U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the 2013 Solar Decathlon will happen in California, the first time the bi-annual event has occurred outside of Washington, D.C. since it’s inception in 2002.

The Solar Decathlon challenges 20 college teams to design and build efficient homes that are solar-powered. Among the criteria is that the structures be affordable, comfortable, and produces as much or more energy that it uses. The 20 structures will be showcased at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA.

Among the schools represented in the 2013 competition are four from our fair state, including USC and the Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology.

“As President Obama made clear in the State of the Union address this week, we need to ensure that the next generation of America’s architects, engineers and entrepreneurs have the hands-on experience and training they need to lead our nation’s clean energy future,” Secretary Chu said this week at the announcement. “The Solar Decathlon will unleash the ingenuity, creativity and drive from these talented students to demonstrate new ideas for how families and businesses can reduce energy use and save money with clean energy products and efficient building design.”