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Team Germany Wins 2009 Solar Decathlon!

Team California’s narrow halftime lead was overtaken in the last few days of this year’s Department of Energy-sponsored Solar Decathlon in Washington D.C. In the end, Team California took third place behind the University of Illinois and this year’s winner, Team Germany.

Team Germany’s “SurPlus Home” was a bastion of solar electricity. Except for the windows and doors, there was no part of the cube-shaped SurPlus Home’s facade that was not generating solar electricity. The roof was covered with 40 monocrystalline silicon solar panels and the siding was made up of 250 thin-film CIGS solar panels. All told, the facade and roof combined to form a 11.1 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system, producing 200% of the electricity needed to power the small two-story house.

And it was overproduction of solar electricity that carried Team Germany into the winner’s circle. SurPlus Home scored a perfect 150 points in the Net Metering category, outscoring Illinois by 13 points and Team California by nearly 50 points. In the end, Team Germany bested the second-place Illinois by about 11 points and California by 45, which tells us something about the power of building integrated photovoltaics.

Yet every team at this year’s Solar Decathlon put in a good showing - just being accepted into the field of 20 teams, made up of university and college students from around the world, is an honor in and of itself. Even the 19th place team from the University of Louisiana pulled off the Market Viability award and won the People’s Choice Award, which was voted on by text message from Decathlon followers around the country.

Other individual category winners are: Team California for Architecture and Communications; Team Illinois for Hot Water, Appliances, and Home Entertainment; Team Germany for Net Metering and Comfort Zone; and the University of Minnesota took home awards for Engineering and Lighting Design.

Full scores and explanations for each home and category on this year’s tour are available from the Solar Decathlon. Once again, congratulations to Team Germany on their victory and to all the students and faculty members who participated. While the homes were up on the National Mall in Washington D.C. for less than two weeks, these students have been working diligently for the last year or more, including fundraising, designing, building and transporting the homes.

CalFinder kudos to them all!

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