Solar home project captures Energy-TV award

CALGARY, ALBERTA - A Calgary student-led project to build a solar home for international competition has won an Energy-TV award and a donation of solar panels.

The Alberta Solar Decathlon Project, which involves students, faculty and staff from the University of Calgary, SAIT Polytechnic and Mount Royal College, received the Energy-TV Award for “Top Alternative Energy Project” at the second annual awards celebration.

The three Calgary post-secondary schools are the first-ever all western Canadian team ( to be selected for the prestigious, international Solar Decathlon competition in the fall of 2009.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, 20 university and college teams chosen from around the world will design, build and operate their completely solar-powered homes on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The event typically draws more than 120,000 people and widespread media coverage.

“This Energy-TV award shows that our student-led project is making a difference in Alberta and beyond,” says Matt Beck, project manager and a graduate student in the U of C’s Faculty of Environmental Design. “We are grateful for all our champions in industry, government and education, and we hope to do them proud with our solar home in Washington next fall.”

“This award represents all the hard work and dedication that our team has put into this project,” says project chair Mark Blackwell. “It also shows the power of the collaboration by Calgary’s leading post-secondary schools,” adds Blackwell, a Haskayne School of Business undergraduate student and president of the U of C’s Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy Students’ Association.

During the Energy-TV awards show, the Alberta Solar Decathlon team was surprised by an announcement by Tim Montpetit, vice-president of business development for Menova Energy Inc., that his company, in conjunction with Power Panel Inc. and Energy-TV, will donate solar panels for the teamÂ’s solar home.

The Ottawa-based company makes a high-efficiency “solar concentrator” system that can be configured for electricity, heat, cooling and/or lighting applications. The Alberta team looks forward to working with Menova on seeing how best to incorporate its technology into the 800-square-foot solar home, Beck says.

The Energy-TV awards show will be broadcast as a one-hour television special on Global TV across Canada on Saturday, June 28 from 11 a.m. to noon, and on CityTV in Calgary and Edmonton on Sunday, July 6 from 4 to 5 p.m.

The Alberta Solar Decathlon team will hold a news conference at Mount Royal College on Thursday, June 26 from 10 to 11 a.m. to unveil its new design for its ‘competition’ solar home and its Calgary construction site, and to announce several new major energy industry and other sponsors of the project in the community.


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