Solar Innovation Shines
Thunder storms and muggy weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the Solar Decathletes in Washington, DC last week. The teams representing 19 universities from around the world competed to build the most energy efficient, affordable and attractive solar-powered home – not easy given the conditions!
As a result of Applied Materials sponsorship of the Solar Decathlon, I was invited to participate on stage at the Capital Visitors Center when the highly coveted Architecture Awards was presented to the victorious University of Maryland team.Their winning entry called “Water Shed” illustrates how home construction can help preserve watersheds by managing storm water onsite, filtering pollutants from greywater, and minimizing water use. Its split butterfly roofline that facilitates storm water runoff from each module of the home scored high marks from judges.
Winning the design contest – plus scoring 100% on both the energy balance and hot water competitions - helped the team from Maryland capture the overall #1 spot in this year’s competition. A big congratulations to them! Maybe their “Water Shed” design was actually assisted by the dreary overcast weather!
This year, Applied Materials was one of the leading sponsors of the Decathlon’s Congressional reception. Senator Bernard Sanders (D-VT) opened up the reception and welcomed all of the decathlon teams, others members of Congress and staff. Applied Materials’ President of Solar, Dr. Charlie Gay spoke on behalf of Applied. We were very pleased to have Senator Sanders attend and speak as he has been a major champion of stronger federal solar policies and is the lead sponsor of the 10 Million Solar Roofs Act, which seeks to power 10 million U.S. homes and businesses with solar energy by 2020 by lowering permitting costs around the country. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), another strong champion for the solar industry also spoke at the opening ceremonies and focused on ways the U.S. must continue to invest in solar to remain globally competitive. Senator Menendez has previously introduced legislation to extend the 30% solar ITC to the purchase of solar equipment and tools, which would help spur domestic manufacturing.
As the D.C. event concludes, plans are underway for Solar Decathlon China which will be held in the summer of 2013. During a recent ceremony in Shanghai, it was announced that the city of Datong had won the bid to host the first ever competition of its kind in Asia. Applied Materials is pleased to be working with China’s National Energy Agency and the University of Peking to launch this new international competition. Based on the Tongji University entry into the U.S. Decathlon, which was constructed out of six recycled shipping containers, we should expect innovative and creative designs from China. Choosing a theme of “Time to Shine”, the Solar Decathlon China competition should be on your travel schedule for late July or early August 2013.