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Great Park awarded $1 million for national Solar Decathlon

May 22, 2012 |  2:17 pm


Orange County's Great Park will receive $1 million in federal grant money as it plays host to a national collegiate solar design competition and alternative energy exposition next year, park officials announced.

The U.S. Department of Energy granted the Great Park -- the sprawling space in Irvine on what once was  El Toro Marine Corps air station -- funds for planning and preparation for the Solar Decathlon competition and an exposition on clean, renewable and efficient energy, dubbed XPO, park officials said. Both events will take place concurrently in October 2013.

The park has initially received $375,000 from the Department of Energy.

Irvine Councilwoman Beth Krom, chairwoman of the Orange County Corporation Board, said in a statement that the events will "bring worldwide attention and economic development to the Great Park and the region and raise public awareness about the benefits of clean energy and energy conservation."

The Solar Decathlon, a biennial competition that began in 2002, will feature 20 collegiate teams that have designed, built and operated energy-efficient and cost-effective solar-powered houses.

The houses will be showcased in the Great Park, in a Solar Decathlon Village, and will be judged on affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence in addition to efficiency.

The biennial Solar Decathlon previously was held on the National Mall in Washington.


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-- Rick Rojas

Photo: The 2011 solar decathlon was held in Washington. Credit:  Stefano Paltera / U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.