Teams Prove Solar Houses Can Be Affordable

Proving that the cost of "going green" is decreasing, two teams tied for first place in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 Affordability Contest.

Proving that the cost of "going green" is decreasing, two teams tied for first place in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 Affordability Contest. Parsons The New School for Design and Stevens Institute of Technology built Empowerhouse for less than $230,000, and Purdue University's INhome came in at just less than $250,000. These teams earned 100 points for achieving a target construction cost of $250,000 or less, as evaluated by a professional cost estimator.


Results of the Affordability Contest were announced today in the solar village. Team Belgium (Ghent University) received second place in the contest, with its E-Cube, which was priced at $251,147. In third place was The Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology's CHIP, which was estimated to cost $262,495.

"These 2011 teams have shown that solar houses can be affordable while still being innovative," said Matt Hansen, Affordability Contest juror.

The Affordability Contest has had an impact on the design of Solar Decathlon competition houses. Compared to Solar Decathlon 2009 houses, the Solar Decathlon 2011 houses are estimated to cost 33% less.

Featured Product

IMO Precision Controls - Keeping Solar Safe

IMO Precision Controls - Keeping Solar Safe

The IMO FireRaptor provides three forms of Solar Panel Rapid Shutdown to ZERO VOLTS in case of fire or other emergency: Manual Panel Shutdown to 0V Operated from Ground Level, Automatic Panel Shutdown to 0V at >85°C (185°F) Temperature, and an automatic Panel Shutdown to 0V on External Power Loss. The FireRaptor can be installed without any set-up and with any string inverter as its functionality is completely independent. "Plug & Play" style installation using industry standard connectors is easy, whether fitted to new installs or retrofitted to existing projects to upgrade fire safety functionality. Meeting NEC2017's regulation to switch DC current at the PV panel in under 30 seconds, FireRaptor is remains one of the safest and most effective means of isolating DC current at the source, and the only rapid shutdown with a 20 year warranty.