Team Purdue Finishes Strong in Solar Decathlon

Team Purdue Shines with Second Place Finish in 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Purdue University Leverages SunPower Panels and Third Sun Solar Expertise to Place Second Among Twenty University Teams

Athens, Ohio, September 28, 2011—Purdue University and Third Sun Solar, a SunPower Premier Dealer based in Ohio, partnered with SunPower Corporation in the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Team Purdue leveraged their SunPower and Third Sun Solar connections to a second-place finish overall, with a perfect score in Energy Balance. Their entry, called INhome, was described by one observer as “a refreshingly pragmatic and affordable energy marvel.”

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

“In preparation for the 2011 Solar Decathlon, Team Purdue approached Third Sun Solar, seeking an industry expert and high-efficiency solar panels for its solar home entry,” said Third Sun Solar President Geoff Greenfield.

Team Purdue selected the SunPower® E19 / 238 Solar Panel for its INhome design entry. SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWRA, SPWRB), worked with Third Sun Solar to provide the team with the industry’s most reliable solar panels that also deliver the maximum power from a limited roof space, a key design requirement for the decathletes.

“You’ll be interested to know that the PV system was one of the keys to our successful finish,” said Bill Hutzel of Purdue’s Engineering Department. “The weather was overcast during the entire competition and our solar panels gave us a distinct advantage. Many of the contending teams did not produce enough solar electricity to complete the contest, even though they had large arrays, microinverters, and spent more money than we did. I think it was a combination of the SunPower panels, proper mounting angles, and quality balance of system components.”

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon helps the visiting public learn about the benefits of applying sustainable, energy efficient and cost-saving features to their own homes. This year, twenty teams of university students competed in 10 contests, including architecture, engineering, energy balance and market appeal. Teams included American universities (Ohio State University, Middlebury College, CCNY); university consortiums (such as one formed by The Southern California Institute of Architecture and the California Institute of Technology); and a number of international universities, including China’s Tongji University, New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington, and Ghent University of Belgium.

The competition commenced with an opening ceremony on September 22 in the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., and closed with the final awards ceremony on the afternoon of October 1. Throughout the competition, the public could tour the houses for free. The first Solar Decathlon was held in 2002, and competitions now take place every other year.

About Third Sun Solar

Based in Athens, Ohio, Third Sun Solar is a fast-growing design/build solar firm serving Ohio and the surrounding states. A rising Inc. 5000 company in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the company has custom designed and installed over 300 solar energy systems for its commercial, institutional, government, and residential customers across the Midwest. Third Sun Solar is focused on making it easier for customers to go solar, with financial and management experience, multiple installation crews, a network of professional services partners, and advanced internal systems all working together to deliver a smooth transition to solar energy at any scale.


Gerald Kelly
[email protected]

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