Two years before the contest, when most of the students joined their respective Solar Decathlon teams, little did they know how daunting the task would be. From the long hours designing and building a house from the ground up, to the demanding requirements necessary to build and occupy a house on the National Mall, competing in the Solar Decathlon is hard. For those with the right stuff, it built character and leadership—qualities that will change their lives for the better. That’s significant. To power a house day after day on sunlight is a technological accomplishment that many find hard to believe—especially in cloudy weather. What the teams proved is that solar energy really works and energy efficiency pays off. Considering the consequences of billions of people around the world burning finite fossil fuels at an ever-increasing rate, demonstrating technologies that can make a difference is significant.
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