Campus News

UK Takes Ninth Place at Solar Decathlon


WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 16, 2009) - U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman today announced the winners of the 2009 Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The University of Kentucky's S•KY BLUE House placed ninth in the competition. This was UK's first time participating in the Solar Decathlon.

Team Germany, the student team from Darmstadt, Germany, won top honors by designing, building, and operating the most attractive and efficient solar-powered home. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign took second place followed by Team California in third place.

The active competition lasted for a week, with the prototype home designs open to the public through Sunday. Team Germany's winning "Cube House" design produced a surplus of power even during three days of rain. This is the team's second-straight Solar Decathlon victory, after winning the previous competition in 2007.

"This competition to build zero carbon homes has been a tremendous undertaking and we have seen terrific efforts by all the teams," Poneman said. "The ingenuity that comes from individual effort is the promise of our future."

Over the past two weeks, the 2009 Solar Decathlon challenged 20 university-led teams from the United States and as far away as Spain, Germany, and Canada to compete in 10 contests, ranging from subjective elements such as architecture, market viability, communications, lighting design, and engineering, to technical measurements of how well the homes provided energy for space heating and cooling, hot water, home entertainment, appliances, and net metering.

New to this year's competition, the Net Metering Contest was worth 150 points toward the final results and was the most heavily weighted contest. It challenged teams to generate surplus energy, above and beyond the power needed to run a house, which they fed into a power grid. UK's house placed fifth in this individual contest.

Team Germany earned 908.29 points out of a possible 1,000 to win the competition, followed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with 897.30 points, and Team California with 863.08 points. UK earned at total of 732.15 points in the competition.

The Solar Decathlon Individual Contest Winners are as follows: Appliances  - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Architecture - Team California; Comfort Zone - Team Germany; Communications - Team California; Engineering - University of Minnesota; Home Entertainment - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Hot Water - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Lighting Design  - University of Minnesota; Market Viability - University of Louisiana at Lafayette; and Net Metering - Team Germany.

For full event information, standings, high-resolution photos and videos, visit the Solar Decathlon Web site.

Next year, the UK S•KY BLUE House will be exhibited at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games, scheduled to begin Sept. 25, 2010, in Lexington, Ky. The house will serve as the Visitor’s Center and the entry threshold to the Kentucky Experience exhibitions at the events.

To find out more about UK's S•KY BLUE House, visit the team's Web site at