Germany’s Solar Coated surPLUShome Wins Solar Decathlon!


by Bridgette Meinhold, 10/16/09

solar decathlon, solar decathlon 2009, winners, winner, Team Germany, Illinois, net metering, solar power, net zero, pv panels, energy efficient design

The final results just rolled in from this year’s Solar Decathlon, and team Germany’s sleek surPLUShome finished first in an incredible upset victory! The German team took top honors in the Net Metering and Engineering categories this morning, steamrolling the competition to secure their second Decathlon win. This year’s home features a sleek, dark facade that is almost completely covered in photovoltaic panels and can provide more than twice the amount of energy it needs. Check out our cool video from America.gov about the house after the jump!

A far cry from the Team Germany’s 2007 entry, the surPLUShome pushed the envelope in every respect, from the use of new technology to non-traditional architecture. The competition really came down to solar production and energy efficiency, with the goal of designing and building a net zero home. So it’s really no surprise that Germany was victorious, considering their very rigorous and impressive Passivhaus building standard.

The surPLUShome is a two-story cube covered with a 11.1 kW PV system with panels on the roof (single-crystal silicon), sides, and front (thin-film copper indium gallium diselenide). Inside, a single multi-functional room operates as kitchen, living, dining, bath and bedroom. Furniture is multi-purpose as well and folds away to make space when not needed. Other important design features include custom-made vacuum insulation structural panels, a boiler/heat pump system that provides hot water and warmth, and automatic louver-covered windows.

Team Germany, made up of 24 students, hails from the Technische Universität Darmstadt and achieved great marks in all of the categories, scoring a total of 908 points out of a possible 1,000. Team Illinois won 2nd place with 897 points, while Team California, favored to win earlier this week, took 3rd place with 863. Congratulations to all of these teams on their incredible projects! We hope that many of the technologies and advances in design we saw during the Decathlon will filter out into commercial and residential homes around the world.