The U.S. Department of Energy has announced this year's participants and dates for the 2009 Solar Decathlon?a competition that challenges student teams to design, develop, and build homes that can produce their own energy from sunlight. The culmination of a two?year process, 20 teams from the United States, Canada, Spain, and Germany, will display their homes on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. from Oct. 9 through Oct. 18.

The self?sufficient solar?powered homes must demonstrate energy?efficient amenities and smart home systems that emit fewer carbon emissions without sacrificing the comforts of modern conveniences. The competition is broken into 10 individual contests, evaluating the teams' skills in architecture, home design, and communications. Each home must produce enough electricity and hot water from solar panels to perform all the functions of a regular home, including powering the lights and home electronics, cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and maintaining a comfortable temperature.

The colleges and universities competing in the 2009 Solar Decathlon are:

  • Cornell University
  • Iowa State University
  • Ohio State University
  • Penn State
  • Rice University
  • Team Alberta (University of Calgary, SAIT Polytechnic, Alberta College of Art + Design, Mount Royal College)
  • Team Boston (Boston Architectural College, Tufts University)
  • Team California (Santa Clara University, California College of the Arts)
  • Team Missouri (Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Missouri)
  • Team Ontario/British Columbia (University of Waterloo, Ryerson University, Simon Fraser University)
  • Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • Universidad de Puerto Rico
  • Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Wisconsin?Milwaukee
  • Virginia Tech

The DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy sponsors the Solar Decathlon, which was initiated in 2002, in partnership with its National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which manages the event. With the goal of highlighting innovation as well as promoting "green" building industries and jobs, the Solar Decathlon draws more than 100,000 visitors to the national mall. Further details are available at