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Picture of MIT's Solar 7 house on display at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2007 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Enlarge image

Solar 7 embodies traditional New England style while using innovative solar technology.
(Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Who: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
What: Solar 7
MIT campus
77 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02139
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Public tours: Not available

Solar Decathlon 2007

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Building on the Past

The house built by students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2007 remains in storage while the university searches for a buyer. Called Solar 7, it is the seventh in a line of solar-powered houses constructed by the university.

MIT's work on solar houses began in the 1930s. Its Solar I was the first house in America to use stored solar energy to provide heat year-round. In the late 1940s, the Dover Sun House explored storing solar heat with Glauber salt instead of water—a practice that still remains in use. An MIT student lived in Solar III with his wife and child until it caught fire in December 1955. In 1978, Solar V was used as a laboratory and educational space by MIT's Department of Architecture.

Ready for its next chapter, Solar 7 is being offered for only a fraction of the university's cost to build it. The house's sale, however, is restricted to someone who will keep it in Massachusetts. As one of seven houses to successfully produce more energy than it consumed over the course of Solar Decathlon 2007, Solar 7 offers its potential buyer the chance to own a piece of history as well as a model of the future. Interested parties may contact Kurt Kevile, faculty advisor to the MIT Solar Decathlon 2007 team.