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Aerial photo of the Innovation Technology Exploration Center that shows the solar panels on the University of Delaware house. Enlarge image

The University of Delaware's Solar Decathlon entry has been integrated into the Innovation Technology Exploration Center at the Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation.
(Courtesy of Lynn Bloom, Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation)

Who: University of Delaware
What: Solar House
Where:
Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation
585 Big Oak Road
Smyrna, Delaware 19977
Map This House

Public tours: Contact the Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation at 302-659-5003 for information about visiting the Innovation Technology Exploration Center.

Solar Decathlon 2002

The University of Delaware: Soaring to New Heights

The University of Delaware donated its solar-powered house to the Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation after competing in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2002. The house will serve as an entry room and office at the foundation’s Innovation Technology Exploration Center, a new museum that is currently under construction.

Dr. Stephanie Wright was largely responsible for bringing the house to the Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation. On January 28, 1986, she watched space shuttle Challenger explode. The next day at school, she began spreading the belief that something good should come of the tragedy. Three years later, the University of Delaware alumna founded the Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation.

Dr. Wright’s foundation broke ground for the Innovation Technology Exploration Center on June 13, 2003. Ceremony attendees included senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper as well as other influential policymakers. Planned as the core of a $7.2-million facility, the University of Delaware solar house came out of storage for integration into the new building.

The house continues to perform well. In 2009, the foundation replaced the solar panels on the semi-circular roof. The house will power the entire 2,000-square-foot facility and still manage to sell excess power to the local utility.

Today, the Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation is proof that something good did come out of that fateful day in 1986.