The Department of Energy has announced its second Solar Decathlon in 2005. The first Solar Decathlon, a student competition to design and build an energy self-sufficient house on Washington’s National Mall, was held in 2002.Washington D.C. – March 17, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] A solicitation inviting interested colleges and universities to submit proposals to participate in the 2005 contest was issued in February. The Solar Decathlon is an intercollegiate design competition among student teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses. The 2005 competition will be held in Washington, D.C., and is open exclusively to colleges, universities and other post-secondary educational institutions. “The 21st century will present us with challenges that demand more sophisticated energy technologies,” Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said. “These new technologies must be cost effective and environmentally sound. With this in mind, DOE and its partners offer this challenging competition.” Participants in the 2005 event will be selected through a proposal process, with as many as 18 teams chosen based on the quality of their submissions. Teams will receive US$5,000 each to offset costs. Proposals must be submitted by April 30, 2003. Applicants will be judged in two stages. Proposals that meet the published requirements will be evaluated to determine which teams have the most promising approach to, and potential for, building a successful entry. Almost half the preliminary score will be based on technical innovation and design, with lesser points given for organization planning and curriculum. The challenge is to design and build a 500-square-foot solar powered house. For the competition itself, teams will be judged in 10 simultaneous contests to determine which house most efficiently employs solar energy for heating, cooling, hot water, lighting, appliances, computers and charging an electric car. The contests are based on three guiding principles: supplying the energy requirements necessary to live and work using only renewable energy; designs that will increase public awareness of the aesthetic and energy benefits of solar energy; and stimulating research and development of Renewable Energy, particularly in the area of buildings applications. For more information about the Solar Decathlon see our Web site as noted above. Institutions interested in competing in 2005 should review the Request for Proposal at the link below.