It's time to spiff up the solar panels. The Solar Decathlon competition is poised to begin this week in Washington, D.C., where student teams from 20 colleges from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Puerto Rico design and build homes that operate on solar power only. Energy Secretary Steven Chu is scheduled to speak at the opening ceremony on Thursday and the houses will be open to the public for 10 days starting on Friday.
Here a student from Team Wisconsin cleans up the solar panels, while a student on the left from Team Louisiana finishes work on their building. In general, the size of the solar arrays on these houses is bigger than what a typical U.S. home needs because the panels need to run the homes for 10 days and the teams are judged on how much excess electricity they can generate. Those solar panels make the homes expensive--many of the houses cost more than $500,000.
October 7, 2009 4:47 PM PDT
Photo by: Martin LaMonica
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