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Photo of the 2005 and 2002 Crowder College solar houses on either side of a wind turbine on the school's campus. Enlarge image

The Crowder Solar Decathlon houses, along with a refurbished Nordtank 65-kW wind turbine, will soon provide power to the school's MARET Center.
(Courtesy of Joel Lamson)

Who: Crowder College
What: Solar house
Crowder College
601 Laclede Ave.
Neosho, MO 64850
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Public tours: Not available

Solar Decathlon 2002

Crowder College: Energizing Campus

The solar-powered house designed by Crowder College for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2002 returned to Neosho, Missouri, after the competition. It is now joined by the 2005 house and a refurbished Nordtank 65-kW wind turbine on the west side of campus. All three renewable energy projects provide power for the Missouri Alternative and Renewable Energy Technology Center.

Dan Eberle, who served as an interim director of the MARET program, became the default owner of the house when he provided $75,000 in seed money early in the construction process. He offered Crowder the option of buying back the house once the team was able to raise enough money to cover the project cost. However, the limited resources available to a small community college such as Crowder prevented the team from meeting their fundraising goals.

None of this mattered on the National Mall, though. The Crowder team made a huge impact by finishing first in the Home Office, Lighting, and Energy Balance contests. Furthermore, the public overwhelmingly chose Crowder's house as the People's Choice Award winner. The team's success helped the college recognize the significance of the project. After the competition, the Crowder Foundation purchased the house back from Eberle.

An official dedication ceremony at the house's permanent site on campus took place October 10, 2003. Majority Whip Roy Blunt helped cut the ribbon alongside the Eberle family and other honored students and faculty members. The occasion marked another of Crowder's many contributions as the state of Missouri's official renewable education center.