Solar Decathlon Contest to Move to California in 2013

The Solar Decathlon house-building contest will be held in Irvine, Calif., in 2013.

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The biennial Solar Decathlon competition, which challenges students from universities around the world to design and build a sustainable, solar-powered house, has been a fixture on (or near) the National Mall in Washington, D.C., since the competition was started in 2002.

Until now.

The Department of Energy announced Thursday that the competition will head west, to Irvine, Calif., in 2013. It'll be held at Orange County Great Park, a new park that was built on a former Marine Corps Air Station. The park bills itself as the "first great metropolitan park of the 21st century."

The DOE also announced the 20 university teams for 2013—the University of Maryland, which won this year's competition, is noticeably absent. The competition will feature 11 new teams and teams from universities in Canada, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

Contest director Richard King wrote in a blog post that the new venue "will provide a stage worthy of displaying the teams' energy-efficient, solar-powered houses to the world." According to King, the Solar Decathlon entry committee received more than 40 entries for the 20 available spots.

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