Who Started the Solar Decathlon? Richard King

2009 Solar DecathlonHave you thought about how the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon got started? Who was the first person to want to have a student competition that demonstrates the use of solar rooftop systems? According to Solar Decathlon, it began with Richard King. In 1999 he had been working at the Department of Energy for 10 years conducting research on solar photovoltaic systems. He says they had developed highly reliable solar panels, but few people trusted them or thought they looked appealing on rooftops, and because the market barriers had a lot to do with perception and lack of knowledge, he turned his attention to education.

How can we educate more homeowners, and how can we design and build beautiful, appealing solar houses that people would want to live in? –Richard King.

He came up with the idea of a competition in the year 2000 and the first Solar Decathlon was held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2002, with fourteen student built homes and thousands of visitors.

You can make a difference, was the message of Solar Decathlon Director Richard King in his September 19, TEDxOrangeCoast talk about the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, reports Carol Laurie for Solar Decathlon.

Titled “Energy to Live By,” King’s 11-minute talk at the TEDxOrangeCoast Annual Conference in Aliso Viejo, California, introduced the audience to the Solar Decathlon and the powerful impact this award-winning competition has on participating students and visitors.

Throughout his talk, King stressed how important each individual is to reducing the world’s energy use.

As individuals, we are responsible for 100% of the energy we use in our daily lives. Did it ever occur to you that, as individuals collectively responsible for half of the world’s energy, you have a lot of power? I’m not talking about energy or brain power. I am talking about the kind of power that can change the world. Think about that the next time you flip a switch. –Richard King

Representatives from the City of Irvine, California, nominated King for consideration by the TEDxOrangeCoast organizers.

Being invited to give a TED talk is very special, and I was honored by the City of Irvine’s nomination. It’s also a very exhilarating experience. All of the speakers during this conference were outstanding, having done something significant in their lives. –Richard King.

King also invited the audience to visit Solar Decathlon 2015, which will be held at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California, October 8 through 18.

You can check out the concepts for the student’s net zero houses on the 2015 team pages.

 

 




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