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Solar Decathlon China Kicks Off

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Yesterday’s Solar Decathlon China opening ceremony was grand!

A huge stage, complete with three video screens, was set up on the steps of the Sun Palace. The mayor of Datong opened Friday’s opening ceremony by speaking about the future—a cleaner, brighter future, thanks to the efforts of students and faculty participating in Solar Decathlon China. Other dignitaries, including Assistant Secretary David Danielson of the U.S. Department of Energy, also spoke. Dr. Danielson said how pleased he was to be in Datong witnessing the first Solar Decathlon in China. He congratulated everyone for making the competition possible.

Next, all the teams were introduced as they paraded across the stage. The decathletes wore their team uniforms and waved their school and country flags with pride. Finally, it was their time to shine!

Photo of seven men in suits switching a large switch forward.

Dignitaries flip a switch to turn on the new solar power.

Next, dignitaries were called to the stage to officially start the competition. A huge switch took seven people to lift to turn off the old energy and turn on the new energy.  At that moment, the video screens exploded with bright sunlight, and the first Solar Decathlon China officially began. All 1,500 in attendance cheered their delight!

The rest of the day, the media and VIPs had the first opportunity to see the team houses and meet the decathletes.

Friday also marked the first day of scoring for the competition.  Now, we can begin to see the standings of the teams.  Be sure to check them out.

Photo of crowds of people in the Solar Decathlon China village.

The public exhibit at Solar Decathlon China draws large crowds on its
first day.

Today, Aug. 3, was the first day Solar Decathlon China was open to the public. We are always apprehensive about the first public day. Will people come? By 9 a.m., our worries were over. Thousands of people poured into the village! We are happy and overwhelmed. If attendance keeps up, Solar Decathlon China will break all previous attendance records from the United States and Europe.

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

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