Nineteen solar-powered houses that are assembled in the Orange (News - Alert) County Great Park, located in California, have produced 4,672 kilowatts of electricity since Oct. 2. The houses are part of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.
The houses were designed and built by a team of college student engineers. The teams build the energy efficient, solar powered houses and bring them to the DOE competition every two years. The Solar Decathlon has taken place since 2002, but this is the first year it has not been held in Washington, D.C. at the National Mall.
The houses are judged in 10 different competitions during the event. One of the competitions weighs how much solar electricity the houses make compared to what they consume.
The decathlon is sponsored by Schneider Electric (News - Alert). This is the third year Schneider Electric has sponsored the event. There were two other sponsors, both of which were abroad. Schneider Electric donated equipment to each competing team. The donated equipment included individual meters for each house. The company also developed and donated the microgrid that connects the houses together during the competition. The microgrid sends the unused energy to another microgrid located in the park. The second microgrid is controlled by the Navy. The Navy uses the excess energy.
A Schneider Electric spokesperson says, “The Solar Decathlon is an opportunity for us to showcase what we can do.”
Schneider is working with the government to develop microgrids that will be used on military bases. National security has made making military bases independent by supplying them a way to produce energy on site a priority.
It is unknown at this time if the houses in this year’s Solar Decathlon are generating more electricity than last year, but they are generating the electricity using fewer solar panels and far smaller arrays than before.
Edited by Alisen Downey