A decathlon without pole vault?  Without javelin throw?  But…But…

That just doesn’t make any sense.

Unless of course it’s a SOLAR DECATHLON!


If you follow all the solar news that’s fit to print then you probably already know about the Solar Decathlon, which officially kicks off tomorrow at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in DC.  If not, here’s the background (straight from the DOE’s website):

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.  Open to the public free of charge, visitors can tour the houses, gather ideas to use in their own homes, and learn how energy-saving features can help them save money today.

The first Solar Decathlon was held in 2002, and the competition is biennial, meaning this year is the 6th anniversary of the event.  Twenty teams from all over the world gathered in DC on September 13th to transform their cutting-edge designs into realities.  Tomorrow the homes officially open to the public.


The DOE Solar Decathlon official website has lots of bells and whistles, including time lapse videos of the creation of the solar village and photos of the houses from past decathlons.

Planet Forward also has an outstanding section of their website devoted to the Solar Decathlon, complete with snapshots of each team, videos, and even a matchmaking quiz where you can figure out (in 6 simple questions) which house is the best for your lifestyle.  I matched to the indoor/outdoor New Zealand house called First Light house


Take the quiz and find out which house is right for you, then share the results in the comments.

Posted by Bliss Dennen

Bliss served as Sungevity's social media and brand manager at a critical moment in Sungevity's history, helping successfully grow the Rooftop Revolution to the Eastern Seaboard.


  1. Solar energy has this misconception that it is extremely expensive and out of the reach of the middle class family. With advancements in the technology it is becoming easier and easier to get those money saving panels in your home.

    1. It’s true — glad you’re with us!

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