[Thursday] officially mark[ed] the start of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 with the announcement of 20 new collegiate teams selected to compete.
The teams are excited to get to work, but they know the challenge that lies ahead. They now begin a two-year process to build solar-powered, highly energy-efficient houses that combine affordability, innovation and design excellence — no small task, especially when the competition is so intense. This year’s field of participants is the best ever.
After designing, constructing and testing their houses, the teams will reassemble them in fall 2015 at the competition site. For the second time, Solar Decathlon will be held outside the nation’s capital in Irvine, California, at the Orange County Great Park. Based on the experience and outpouring of support gained from last year’s success, the City of Irvine is eager to work with us in hosting an even bigger and more exciting event in 2015.
Over the years, I have seen first-hand how the Solar Decathlon can be a positive, life-changing experience for participating students. In addition to developing leadership, team spirit and problem-solving skills, the competition bridges formal education with hands-on experience that helps decathletes excel once they enter the workforce.
As President Obama highlighted in his State of the Union address, we need to prepare students with the skills necessary to succeed. The solar energy industry is experiencing record growth — every four minutes, another American home or business adds solar panels — and it requires a constant supply of trained workers to meet increased demand. The Solar Decathlon competition has provided more than 17,000 college students with the training and hands-on experience that increases their competency level in everything from architecture and planning to engineering and marketing. Employers recognize the extra measure of talent and passion the decathletes possess and are lined up ready to hire them when the competition ends.
We wish all of the Solar Decathlon 2015 teams the best of luck as we all look forward to another incredible competition!
For the list of selected teams and to follow the competition, visit http://www.solardecathlon.gov.