The desert Southwest is aggressively pursuing becoming the center of the solar PV industry in the United States. The Southwest receives this countrys highest levels of insolation and is a prime location for collaborative solar research and development, industry, and widespread implementation in society. Team Southwest, comprised of Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico, will be leveraging the strengths and assets of each of their locales to promote the ultimate goal of the Solar Decathlon, of fostering development and facilitate widespread adoption of homes that demonstrate solar and energy efficiency technologies in marketable applications, through technology development and key partnerships. Team Southwest proposes to combine the necessity for affordable shelter with the demand for affordable energy in a sustainable, energy-efficient, net-zero energy house; A house which will be repurposed after the competition to the campus of UNM as a test bed for building integrated PV and sustainable, affordable, living quarters. ASU and UNM have both exhibited tremendous education and research involvement in fostering a dedication to sustainability, especially in the areas of solar and energy efficiency. ASU is leading the first ever Engineering Research Center jointly funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy on Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies. This effort pulls together the talent of 8 leading US universities and 3 international universities to advance solar PV devices through an integrated research, education and industrial engagement program. UNM is listed in Princeton Reviews Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition as one of the United States most environmentally responsible college. Both ASU and UNM maintain strong relationships with local governments, industry and research laboratories. Additionally, ASU and UNM are currently working on the QESST ERC, with the tasks of researching and implementing novel Building Integrated PV (BIPV) technologies. The Solar Decathlon house can serve as a demonstration project for these research solutions and as a demonstration of their commercial feasibility. Both New Mexico and Arizona leverage talented workforces, innovation through university research and business-friendly climates to be leaders in research, testing and manufacturing, and energy production for solar energy systems. Though industries and research entities provide a great opportunity for well-trained graduates to have a career in renewable energy fields, widespread acceptance of sustainable practices and products still has room for growth. Local populations in Albuquerque and Phoenix strongly support renewable energy and sustainability programs. Both ASU and UNM have established relationships with Hispanic and Native American populations interested in bringing green and renewable energies to their communities. These relationships encourage the spread of solar technologies by sharing the resources and knowledge necessary to implement renewable energy and sustainability programs. The demand for affordable housing is reaching critical levels across the world. At the same time, increasing worldwide demand for energy is heavily reliant on fossil fuels that contribute to pollution. With these challenges in mind, growth necessary to accommodate the next hundred million Americans must be both affordable and sustainable [1]. This is especially important in the depressed economies of the American southwest, where long-term sustainability relies of maximizing plentiful solar resources. Due to the high cost of green building materials, however, making housing both affordable and sustainable is a serious challenge. Combining the necessity for shelter with the demand for energy in a sustainable, energy-efficient, netzero energy, or energy-producing housing could be one of the paths to provide solutions for both of the demands above. This Solar Decathlon project accomplishes these goals by serving as a living laboratory for low cost, high performance sustainable housing structures.
Effective start/end date11/29/124/30/14


  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL): $100,000.00


Sustainable development
Energy efficiency
Incident solar radiation
Engineering research
Research laboratories
Fossil fuels
Solar energy