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Let the Competition Begin!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

By Carol Anna

With a snip of giant scissors, a ribbon holding back throngs of student decathletes, sponsors, officials, and other well-wishers fell aside, and the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 officially opened.

Photo of a group of people cheering as a young woman cuts a ceremonial ribbon.

Evyn Larson, center, a student from the University of Southern California, officially marks the opening of Solar Decathlon 2013 by cutting a ribbon on October 3, 2013, at Orange County Great Park, in Irvine, Calif. Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Opening day began with Solar Decathlon teams gathering for an all-team photo at the east end of the Solar Decathlon village at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. From there, the student decathletes headed to Hangar 244 for the Solar Decathlon 2013 Opening Ceremony.

Steve Churm, vice president, Orange County Register and Freedom Communications, served as emcee. U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz wished the teams success via a videotaped message.

Speakers included representatives from top-level event sponsors Bosch, Cisco, Edison International, Schneider Electric, and Wells Fargo as well as City of Irvine Mayor Steven Choi. Father Jim Reites, a three-time Solar Decathlon faculty advisor for Santa Clara University, gave the last speech before each team was introduced.

Photo of students passing through two rows of their peers with arms stretched and touching to form an arch.

After being introduced at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 Opening Ceremony, decathletes formed an impromptu tunnel of raised arms under which their fellow competitors passed to the Hangar Plaza. Credit: Sara Farrar-Nagy/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

So the Solar Decathlon village is open for visitors—for the first time outside of Washington, D.C. And Orange County has turned out to tour the students’ solar-powered houses.

Not only is the village open, but today also marks the first day of the competition. Follow along, check out the team scores over the next eight days, and see who’s crowned the winner Oct. 12!

Carol Anna is the communications manager of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

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