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Great Park accepts federal grant for Solar Decathlon

The Department of Energy is sponsoring the 2013 Solar Decathlon at the OC Great Park

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: May 18, 2012 10:05 AM

The 2011 Solar Village (top) and the
planned site for the 2013 Solar Decathlon
The Orange County Great Park Corporation Board has voted to accept a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its role as host of the 2013 Solar Decathlon. The agreement between the Great Park Board and the DOE establishes a two-part planning-and-execution process for coordinating and funding the competition.

The Solar Decathlon is a yearlong event that invites collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered and energy-efficient homes that meet a series of efficiency standards, as well as aesthetic attractiveness, marketability and practicality. In January, the Orange County Great Park was selected to host the 2013 Solar Decathlon, with the event's exposition planned for Oct. 3 to 13 of next year. This is the first time the biannual competition will be hosted outside of Washington, D.C.

In addition to the main event, a concurrent expo will feature the technological and economic benefits of clean and renewable energy generation and use. The XPO: Clean+Renewable+Efficient Energy Exposition will showcase products, technology, and education and business opportunities that benefit from renewable power use and generation.

Beth Krom, the chair of the Orange County Great Park Corporation Board, said Park staff are excited to be hosting the 2013 Solar Decathlon and XPO. "Today's action allows us to move forward on developing plans for this international event that will bring worldwide attention and economic development to the Great Park and the region, and raise public awareness about the benefits of clean energy and energy conservation," she said.

According to the terms of the agreement between the DOE and the Great Park Board, an initial grant of $375,000 will fund early-stage event programming, sponsorship and planning for the event, including the Solar Village. The homes are currently slated to be constructed and displayed on the Park’s runways –– a legacy of its past as home to the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

The teams participating in the 2013 competition will begin constructing their homes this year on Sept. 23. Twenty groups represent colleges and universities from across the country and around the world, including teams from universities in Austria, Canada and the Czech Republic. Past years have seen teams compete from China, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Puerto Rico.

The public display of the homes and XPO is set for Oct. 3 to 13, 2013. The competition homes will be open to the public Oct. 3 to 6 and Oct. 10 to 13 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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