The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon is quickly becoming an event that rivals the Olympics in international appeal. Yesterday (March 11) the DOE announced that in late 2015 Latin America and the Caribbean will host its first Solar Decathlon event in Columbia’s Santiago de Cali.
The Solar Decathlon is a challenge that tasks universities to develop the solar homes of tomorrow, today. Teams are tasked with designing affordable, highly energy-efficient solar-powered homes that they first test locally before moving the homes to event site where they compete in 10 events.
During a meeting yesterday Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman, Colombia's Minister of Energy and Mines Amylkar Acosta, Mayor of Santiago de Calí Rodrigo Guerrero, and Director of Planning of Colombia Tatyana Orozco signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop Latin version of the popular event. The Solar Decathlon started in the U.S. in 2002, with the first and subsequent events being held on the National Mall until 2013 when the event moved to Great Irvine Park in California.
“We consider the Solar Decathlon a unique opportunity to generate incentives among our Latin American and Caribbean students to use their innovative skills to design buildings that are energy efficient and self-sufficient, contributing to national and regional sustainable growth,” Acosta said. He explained that Columbia’s energy needs are largely provided by hydro power, but the Solar Decathlon will help showcase how other renewable energy sources like solar can help diversify the grid there.
Since the inaugural events and subsequent events Europe and China have worked with the DOE to create their own Solar Decathlon events. Europe held its first event in Madrid, Spain in 2010 and second event in 2012. France will host the event in July this year. Datong, China, held the first Asian version of the competition in 2013.
“By working together with partner nations like Colombia, we can increase global energy security and confront the challenges of a changing climate,” Poneman said. “Building on successful international Solar Decathlons in Europe and China, the U.S. Energy Department looks forward to Solar Decathlon Latin America and Caribbean—supporting a new generation of engineers, architects, and energy entrepreneurs in Latin America while driving clean energy innovation and sustainable development worldwide.”
The DOE said that under the MOU the U.S. and Columbia will share information regarding rules, scoring, judging, safety, and site and team selection for the Latin American and Caribbean Solar Decathlon.Tweet