Village Insider: It takes a village ... to build a solar village

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Denver, Colorado
October 5-15, 2017


Solar Decathlon Village Insider

September 2017   

Message from the Director

And they’re off! Construction of the Solar Decathlon 2017 village officially began last Saturday (see the video here). All 11 teams and their houses safely made it to the competition site in Denver despite Harvey, Irma, a hitch with a hitch, and numerous other challenges they’ve faced over the past two years. I am so proud of these students.

With assembly now underway, it’s incredible to think about all the people who helped make this competition possible. Please take a minute to recognize the sponsors and stakeholders featured in this newsletter (you may also want to re-read the Wells Fargo story from the last Village Insider). Simply put, Solar Decathlon wouldn’t be possible without them.

It’s also not possible without YOU. Thank you for caring about a brighter future. By tuning in to the competition, whether in Denver for the event or visiting virtually online, you are helping support the launch of rising stars.

Excitement is building,
Linda Silverman

Solar Decathlon Director

Welcome to Colorful Colorado

For the first time in the event’s 15-year history, the Solar Decathlon competition will take place in Colorado. It’s fitting, not just because of the (storied) 300 sunny days a year, but because the city has a long history of supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. What’s much faster? Most solar projects can get a permit in one day here. The City of and County of Denver is energized to host this event one mile closer to the sun.

By their side, and right next door to the competition site, is Denver International Airport (DEN). DEN is the sixth busiest airport in the world—yes, world. Also on their to-do list? A strong commitment to the environment, including lighting retrofits, efficiency upgrades, and PV installations. To create additional excitement for Solar Decathlon 2017, DEN is hosting a Sustainable BARKitecture Dog House competition, which challenges local architecture firms to design a solar dog house customized to one of the airport’s own Canine Airport Therapy Squad (CATS) dogs.

Photo of a doghouse in the Sustainable BARKitecture competition.Local architecture firms unleashed their creativity for the first Sustainable BARKitecture competition with features like filtered water, heated floors, and pet cameras. View, vote, and bid on your favorite Solar Decathlon-inspired dog house at

Our thanks also go to the State of Colorado, Governor John Hickenlooper, Mayor Michael Hancock, and the Colorado Energy Office for their continued support in bringing Solar Decathlon 2017 to Colorado. Other local supporters, including the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA), Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore's Office, Children's Museum of Denver, Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES), Modern in Denver (see their amazing “Game of Homes” feature here), Boulder Valley School District, and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Colorado, have embraced this event from the start. May the sun shine on us all October 5-15!

A Fair is a Veritable Schmorgasboard

Little-known fact…the Solar Decathlon event site at the 61st & Peña Station has been permitted as a “circus, bazaar, or carnival.” Who are the ringleaders?

  • L.C. Fulenwider is the master developer of Peña Station NEXT—a connected neighborhood that embraces smart technology, clean energy, and mobility. Our event site is located at the front door to this growing smart city, which is owned by the City and County of Denver and DEN.
  • The Regional Transportation District (RTD) provides a backbone for this location on the University of Colorado A line commuter rail connecting DEN to downtown Union Station.
  • The main attraction at the site is definitely Panasonic Enterprise Solutions, whose LED building skin mesmerizes as it marks the spot. The building itself is home to CityNow, Panasonic’s smart-city arm, which anchors the development.
A colorful light display on the Panasonic Enterprise Solutions building shines of the 2017 event site.

A colorful light display on the Panasonic Enterprise Solutions building shines on the 2017 event site.

  • Our host utility sponsor, Xcel Energy, provides much of the Solar Decathlon's infrastructure, furnishings, and temporary electrical service interconnection, providing the solar village access to the grid.
  • Also keeping the lights on is our longtime sponsor Schneider Electric. Since 2009, Schneider has designed the electrical connection between the Solar Decathlon village and the utility service to enable a safe and reliable microgrid solution. This marks their ninth event, including four international competitions.

Our hats are off to these contributing sponsors. It’s been a pleasure making magic with you!

From the Blog

#SolarDecathlon Trending Now

Road trip slideshow! Here are some of our favorite photos of teams en route to Denver. For much more, follow us on social media using the links below and view our latest event photos online.

Screenshot of Twitter tweet.

Screenshot of Facebook post.

Screenshot of Facebook post.

Screenshot of Instagram post.

Graphic bar that says

Our sponsors are providing hundreds of volunteers, but we still need more! Won't you join us?

2017 Supporting Sponsors

Wells Fargo
City and County of Denver logo

Denver International Airport logo.      


2017 Contributing Sponsors

L.C. Fulenwider logo.

Schneider logo.

Regional Transportation District logo.

Xcel Energy logo

Panasonic Enterprise Solutions logo.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design and build full-size, energy-efficient, solar-powered houses that blend design excellence and smart energy production with innovation, market potential, and energy and water efficiency. The 2017 competition will be open to the public October 5–9 and 12–15 at the 61st & Peña Station on the University of Colorado A line commuter rail in Denver, Colorado. To learn more about the Solar Decathlon, please visit and follow us on social media.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Instagram iconFlickr Pinterest icon YouTube icon Google plus icon

Update your Solar Decathlon Village Insider subscription, modify your password or email address, or stop subscriptions at any time on the subscriber preferences page. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please contact If you have problems viewing this email, view the web version. This service is provided to you at no charge by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.