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Photo of a large group of people standing together in the solar village. Subgroups wear different colors of matching shirts to identify them as a team. In the front is Solar Decathlon Director Richard King.

Solar Decathlon 2009 brought together innovative students from around the world.
(Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Solar Decathlon 2009

Daily Journal - October 19, 2009


I personally believe one of the greatest discoveries in the field of energy from the 20th century is our ability to generate electricity from sunlight using photovoltaic solar cells. Now, as we enter the 21st century, an important application is being perfected—the Solar Decathlon solar electric house. The Solar Decathlon was invented at the turn of the new millennium, and the very first Solar Decathlon houses were designed and built in 2001 and 2002.

The fourth-generation houses exhibited here on the National Mall in 2009 are helping to redefine the built environment. Each and every competition house is a work of art, built with hard work, creativity, and ingenuity.

Breaking all previous records, this year's event attracted more than 300,000 house visits and more than 2 million Web site page views.

We presented the 2009 People's Choice Award—this competition's final award—at our victory celebration Saturday night. This award enables visitors to vote for their favorite house. With more than 17,000 paper and electronic ballots cast, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette won for its BeauSoleil house.

I want to thank our 2009 decathletes for what they have done to contribute to this event and further the knowledge of and excitement surrounding solar energy, energy efficiency, and green building design. The immense pride and gratitude that we have for the more than 3,000 students, teams, and faculty members who make this event possible cannot be measured. On behalf of the Department of Energy and all the Solar Decathlon sponsors: Thank you!

This event has touched so many lives in so many ways. New ideas have been forged, new friends made, and now a new page is turned. Until we see you back here in 2011, let the spirit of the Solar Decathlon shine on!

Richard King, director
U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon