U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon | Powered by the Sun

Solar Decathlon 2011

Village Energy Balance

The competition houses in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon strive to produce a net energy balance over the course of their operation in the solar village. The chart below shows the net energy balance of the Solar Decathlon 2011 team houses as a group.

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When the sun is shining, the solar panels on the houses produced electricity that was used to power appliances, lights, mechanical systems, and electronics. Any excess energy flowed from the houses; through a small village power grid, or microgrid; and to the Washington, D.C., community.

If there was little or no sunshine, the utility could deliver energy back to the solar village without an interruption in service. This allowed the houses to continue functioning at night, when the weather was bad, and when the demand for energy was especially high.

Energy Produced by the Houses

This box shows how much electricity was produced by the solar panels on all of the team houses during the competition.

Cumulative Energy Production

This screen shows the total amount of energy produced by the houses minus the amount consumed for daily operation during the competition.

Number of Trees Planted

This screen illustrates the carbon impact of the Solar Decathlon houses during the competition. These houses use clean, renewable energy from the sun instead of carbon-dioxide-emitting sources such as coal and natural gas. Because trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, the carbon impact of the houses during their operation was similar to planting the numbers of trees shown.