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Photo of Core House on display at Solar Decathlon 2007 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Enlarge image

The University of Colorado showcased the central unit of their Core House at Solar Decathlon 2007.
(Credit: Jim Tetro/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Who: University of Colorado at Boulder
What: Core House
Solar Technology Advancement Center
2880 North Hudson Road
Aurora, CO 80137
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Public tours: Contact SolarTAC at 303-739-7649 for more information.

Solar Decathlon 2007

University of Colorado at Boulder: Breaking New Ground

Xcel Energy purchased the solar-powered house designed by the University of Colorado at Boulder after the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2007. In late March 2010, the company permanently placed Core House at the Solar Technology Acceleration Center (SolarTAC) in Aurora, Colorado.

The house was the first building to arrive at the 74-acre SolarTAC site, which was founded by Xcel Energy and is managed by MRIGlobal. Member companies also include Abengoa Solar, SunEdison, the Electric Power Research Institute, Amonix, Hittitte Solar Energy, and the Alliance for Sustainable Energy.

SolarTAC offers these public and private institutions an opportunity to test various solar technologies individually or collaboratively. Planned studies for the site include research on solar thermal technology and improvements on the reliability of solar sources. Due to permitting restrictions, the CU house will be used exclusively as an exhibit to demonstrate the potential of solar technology.

"The house really seems like a natural fit," says Dustin Smith, SolarTAC's executive director. "The SolarTAC site has the potential to not only be a world-class facility for doing technology acceleration but also for showcasing some solar technologies."

After placing seventh overall in Solar Decathlon 2007, the team went back to work reconstructing the house on CU's campus. It was finished in time for the start of public tours on Earth Day—Apr. 22, 2008. The house remained open for public visitation through May 31, 2008, in its location off Innovation Drive. For almost two years, Core House was used for demonstration and education purposes, as well as for hosting private parties.