Latin America plans its first ‘solar decathlon’

The US and Colombia have signed an agreement to collaborate in the development of a “solar decathlon” in Latin America. It is a competition launched by the US Department of […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The US and Colombia have signed an agreement to collaborate in the development of a “solar decathlon” in Latin America.

It is a competition launched by the US Department of Energy (DOE) in 2002 that challenges college and university teams to design and build affordable, innovative and highly energy efficient solar-powered homes (pictured). Open to the public for free, the Solar Decathlon also shows how energy efficient and renewable energy technologies save money and energy while protecting local communities and boosting economic growth.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), both nations will exchange information regarding rules, scoring, judging, safety and site and team selection for the first Solar Decathlon in Latin America and Caribbean, taking place in Santiago de Cali in late 2015.

Amylkar Acosta, Colombia’s Minister of Mines and Energy said: “Although we have a clean energy matrix, mainly hydro, we are working towards diversifying it by incorporating more renewable sources. 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.”

Since 2010, the DOE has helped launch four international Solar Decathlon competitions, including two in Spain, one in China and one planned for France in July this year.