One second of
power directly from the sun can provide all the electrical power
to light Times Square in New York for a billion years.
Environmental and business leaders in challenging
times value vision, innovation, breakthroughs in technology, teamwork
and ingenuity. Thats why BP thinks the Solar Decathlon, a
unique competition that is taking place from September 26 through
October 6, 2002 on the National Mall in Washington, DCis so
On 14 separate university campuses, interdisciplinary teams of students
and their faculty advisors have completed the design and construction
of solar homes for transport to the Solar Decathlon. The participating
schoolsAuburn, Carnegie Mellon, Crowder, Colorado-Boulder,
Delaware, Maryland, Missouri-Rolla, North Carolina-Charlotte, Puerto
Rico, Texas A&M, Texas at Austin, Tuskegee, Virginia and Virginia
Polytechnic Institutewill each transport, re-construct and
then operate its solar home on solar power alone during the contest.
BP is taking this opportunity to learn from some of tomorrows
The event is the brainchild of the U.S. Department of Energy and
the National Renewable Energy Laboratories, and patterned after
the ancient athletic contest which featured 10 separate events in
determining a winner. The 10 contests of the decathlonsuch
as The Comfort Zone, Home Business and Getting Aroundrequire
powering a modern home and office with energy supplied by the sun,
and demonstrating that the sun can supply all the energy necessary
for the daily demands of a small household and home-based business.
The ultimate decathlon challenge is to successfully synthesize design
elements and solar energy with energy efficient technologies into
a livable domestic environment.
Team approaches vary. Crowders home is a novel French cottage.
Virginia Polytechnics house offers a central energy section
and two wings for working and living. Auburn University makes use
of solar symbolism such as a sundial and solar megaphones. The University
of Missouri-Rolla uses 32 BP solar panels mounted on the roof to
generate more than 5,000 watts of energy. And the University of
Texas at Austin plugs a modified Airstream trailer into its home
to create a solar-run mobile environment.
All the schools efforts are multi-disciplinary, bringing together
teams of engineering, architectural, industrial design, building
construction, business and communication students. At the same time,
the designs strive to be consumer oriented, creating practical and
visually appealing homes that meet Americas perceptions of
what a solar home can be.
BP is confident that the 14 solar homes humming in Washington, DC,
will bear fruit for years to come. It believes that the coordination
and dedication that enables these teams to bring such innovative
solutions to the challenges of running a house on solar power on
the Capitol Mall is an example to all of us seeking to make a positive
difference with our environment. As one of the largest manufacturers
of solar panels in the U.S., it is pleased to be joining with tomorrows
leaders in developing solar energy as a real energy choice.