By Richard King
We have never been more excited to start a U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. In addition to welcoming 20 new collegiate teams and hundreds of new student decathletes to our 2013 competition, we are announcing a new site: the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. This venue will provide a stage worthy of displaying the teams’ energy-efficient, solar-powered houses to the world.
With each competition, entry into the Solar Decathlon becomes harder. For 2013, we reviewed twice as many proposals as we could accept—and all were well-written and compelling in their own right. We are so pleased with the caliber of the 20 new teams. They represent a passionate, dedicated group full of ideas and anxious to get started. We can’t wait to see their final designs!
The Orange County Great Park is an awesome venue for hosting the Solar Decathlon competition and exhibition. This is the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, which the City of Irvine is turning into sustainable parkland for family recreation. The park features a paved runway on which we will build our solar village, which should make set-up for teams easier while providing a pleasant experience for visitors.
The Orange County Great Park has tremendous potential to make Solar Decathlon 2013 bigger and better than ever. Add 20 collegiate teams brimming with new design innovations and a strong competitive spirit, and we are sure to have a spectacular event.
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Richard King is director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.