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Solar Decathlon Teams Continue Fast-Paced Assembly

Saturday, September 17, 2011

By Richard King

Under mostly cloudy skies and occasional light rain, U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon teams continue assembling their houses around the clock to finish the assembly phase of the competition, which for most (and hopefully all) teams will end Tuesday.

Photo of a group of people wearing hard hats, safety vests, and safety glasses standing in front of a house. A sign in front reads “101: New Zealand.”

New Zealand celebrates a team member’s birthday and says goodbye to its Canadian team crew from Fenshawe College in Ontario. (Credit: Richard King/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Today, I attended a party that New Zealand (Victoria University of Wellington) held for a team member’s birthday and to say goodbye to their Canadian friends who came from Ontario to help them. The Canadians—from Fanshawe College—are contemplating applying for Solar Decathlon 2013, so the New Zealand team suggested they join them as team crew. Fanshawe sent a few staff and students for assembly and disassembly, and some of them will stay in Washington for the entire event.

In other news:

  • Team Massachusetts (Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell) arrived on Thursday three days late but assembled its main structure in only six hours.
  • Team New Jersey (Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey and New Jersey Institute of Technology) finished installing its solar array today.
  • Maryland was the first team to qualify for electricity meter installation (which happened yesterday) and as of this morning led the other teams in the number of inspections passed.

In addition, the Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology took my camera up in their cherry picker for some way-cool aerial views of the village.

Aerial photo of houses and roofs on a construction site.

Aerial view of the solar village, with the roof of the SCI-Arc/Caltech house in the foreground, Team Massachusetts in foreground to the left, and Team New York (The City College of New York ) to the right. Maryland is between and just behind them. (Credit: Richard King/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Tomorrow will be more assembly—which will include the installation of lots of village infrastructure (tents, signage, and portable walkways for visitors)—and, no doubt, more firsts and finishes by this stellar group of teams.

Stay tuned!

Richard King is director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

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