As the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 approaches the finish line, the standings are tight—in fact, the closest ever, which is a reflection of the quality of the competition houses. At each Solar Decathlon, we say that everyone is a winner, but this year it’s more true than ever. All the houses are impressive. As a result, the juries have issued more ties in their evaluations than ever before.
The scoring in the five performance-based contests is very close as well. The solar energy systems have been reliably producing more power than the houses need, allowing all the energy- consuming tasks to be completed with energy to spare. In fact, all the teams earned full points in the Energy Balance Contest.
In 2002, the first Solar Decathlon, the point spread between first and second was 26 points. In 2005, the first-place team won by 28 points. In 2007, there was a 25-point spread. In 2009, it was 11 points. And in 2011, 20 points separated the winner (University of Maryland) from second place (Purdue University).
At this point, the separation between teams throughout the ranking is, on average, two to three points. It’s the closest competition ever. And this makes it the most exciting.
After two years of hard work and nine days of head-to-head competition, tomorrow is what we’ve all been waiting for—the announcement of the overall winner at 10 a.m. PDT.