Virginia Tech Wins 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe

The first Solar Decathlon Europe event came to a close this week in Madrid, Spain and it was a team from the United States that took top honors.

Virginia Tech walked away as the winners by the slimmest of margins, edging out the University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim by less than one point in the overall standings.

Rounding out some of the other competitions in the Decathlon, Fachochschule fur Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin won the Solar Systems Award for best system performance. The University of Applied Sciences Rosenheim was the winner of the Electrical Energy Balance Award and also the Appliances and Functioning Award.

Over 190,000 people visited the Villa Solar during the competition andtThe public’s favorite houses were the Fablab House from the Instituto de Arquitectura Avanzada de Cataluña and the SML House from the Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera. The web’s favorite was Re:focus from the University of Florida.

The team from Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences with the solar house, Stuttgart Team, won first place in the Innovation contest for its overall design. Arts et Métiers Paris Tech and École National Supèrieure d´Architecture de Grenoble took second and third place in the prestigious competition, respectively.

In this contest, points were given from both objective measurements of the performance in the solar houses and the more subjective grades for creativity and innovation that demonstrated an incremental or revolutionary change of the design of the house, its systems, or its components, and that increase its value or function.

SunPower Corp. said that the University of Rosenheim, Germany used their panels in the 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe. SunPower solar panels were used by first place teams in the last three Solar Decathlon competitions held in the U.S

The Solar Decathlon Europe, organized by the Spanish Ministry of Housing, is modeled after the Solar Decathlon that is held by the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. every two years. From June 18 to June 27, this year’s Decathlon hosted 17 teams from three continents, challenging students to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. 

Several of the teams using SunPower panels placed first in the individual categories that comprise the competition. For example, the University of Paris Arts et Metiers led the field in the Sustainability competition with the all-black, 96-cell, SunPower 315 Solar Panel.

Spain’s University of CEU Cardenal Herrera, using the SunPower 225 Solar Panel, won first prize in the category of Industrialization and Viability. The University of Florida, using the SunPower 230 Solar Panel, took top honors in the Communication and Social Awareness competition, and was also awarded Public and Web Favorite.

“We congratulate the University of Rosenheim for a strong finish, and all of the teams for their hard work, innovative design and commitment to sustainability,” said Luis Torres, general director of market development, EMEA at SunPower. “This first Solar Decathlon Europe was also the first in which all teams were connected to the grid, following the design of European markets and emphasizing self-consumption in homes. We congratulate the Solar Decathlon organizational team and the Spanish Ministry of Housing for a very successful event.”

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