The United States said Tuesday that it will team up with Colombia to organize a competition for solar-powered home constructions to be held in the South American country in 2015.
The United State’s Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman met with Colombia’s Minister of Energy and Mines Amylkar Acosta, Colombia’s Director of Planning Tatyana Orozco and Mayor Rodrigo Guerrero of Cali, Colombia’s third biggest city, to sign a framework agreement Monday that states the two nations will collaborate in the planning of a “Solar Decathlon.”
The U.S. Department of Energy launched the Solar Decathlon project in 2002 as a way “to challenge university teams to design and build affordable, and innovative and highly energy efficient solar-powered homes.”
The Solar Decathlon started as a competition in the United States and has been held in other countries like China and Spain but the Colombian competition slated for December 2015 in Cali will be the first ever held in Latin America or the Caribbean said Colombian news source El Espectador.
The Colombian Minister of Energy and Mines said that while Colombia has already invested in renewable energy, primarily hydroelectric power, it is important to diversify clean energy sources.
The U.S. Department of Energy reported Acosta as saying “We consider the Solar Decathlon a unique opportunity to develop incentives among our Latin American and Caribbean students to use their innovative skills to design buildings that are energy efficient, and sufficient, contributing to national and regional sustainable growth.”
For his part Poneman said the U.S. Department of Energy was excited for the Colombian Solar Decathlon to take place because it would bolster “a new generation of engineers, architects, and energy entrepreneurs in Latin America while driving clean energy innovation and sustainable development worldwide.”
The Colombian Solar Decathlon will be free to enter and open to the public.
The agreement will primarily focus on hashing out competition formalities like rules, judging, scoring and team selection said the U.S. Department of Energy. The Colombian Solar Decathlon will be free to enter and open to the public.
Colombia has a large water supply with much originating in the highlands of the Andes mountains. The country already has several large hydroelectric dams and is in the process of building one that would be the largest upon completion.
Colombia also has varying levels of non-renewable energy sources such as a large reserve of coal and some petroleum. Colombia is one of the world’s largest coal exporters.