Sophia Liu/Staff Photographer

Cal Poly students are already building solar-powered houses for the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathlon.

Laura Wilkinson
Special to Mustang News

A team of multidisciplinary students and four faculty advisers will represent Cal Poly in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Solar Decathlon.

Over the course of the decathlon, 20 teams from across the nation will compete to design and build fully operational solar-powered houses.

According to College of Engineering Dean Debra Larson, Cal Poly is uniquely qualified to participate in this project because of its strengths in both engineering and architecture and its strong focus on project-based learning.

The houses are judged on cost effectiveness, energy efficiency and attractiveness. The winning team will be the one which best blends these elements into a consumer-friendly design.

“I am personally very excited about the Solar Decathlon,” electrical engineering professor Dale Dolan said. “It is something I have wanted to do since I came to Cal Poly five years ago, and more so now that the event will be hosted in California in Irvine.”

Dolan said students are also extremely excited, not only in electrical engineering but in many other departments — especially architecture and mechanical engineering.

The Department of Energy uses the widespread media coverage of the decathlon to enhance public understanding of how to save families and businesses money by saving energy.

Since 2002, it has provided over 17,000 students with the hands-on experience necessary to prepare them for the clean energy workforce.

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