‘Team Alfred,’ which will include students from Alfred University, Alfred State College, and Guilin University of Technology in China, has officially entered the Solar Decathlon China 2013.
A total of 37 universities from 13 countries have formed 24 teams that were accepted for the 2013 competition, co-hosted by the China National Energy Administration and the United States Department of Energy.
Organized by Peking University, the Solar Decathlon China 2013 is “an internationally award-winning program, challenging collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered energy efficient houses. The competition will showcase cutting-edge solar energy and energy-efficiency technologies and solutions, and provide support to the new energy industry as well as energy efficient urban development.”
Students on all three campuses are being invited to sign up to be part of Team Alfred, which will start work this semester on designing the solar houses. Two will be built; one in Alfred, NY, and one at Guilin University, which is located in Guangxi, China. Both locations have similar climates.
“This is just an incredible opportunity for our students as we begin our new program in renewable energy engineering,” said Doreen Edwards, dean of the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University.
Dr. John Williams, dean, School of Architecture, Management, and Engineering Technology at Alfred State echoes Edwards’ sentiment: "Students and faculty in the architecture and engineering technology programs have been excited about the project from the beginning. Participating in a Solar Decathlon has been a long-standing goal and now we are collaborating as a team with colleagues across the globe."
“First, the students will work collaboratively and internationally, and that’s the way engineers of the future will work,” said Edwards. “The three schools bring different strengths to the team, and the students will have to learn how to utilize all the various resources most effectively.”
“The project will include the expertise developed in clean energy training at Alfred State’s School of Applied Technology, including solar thermal and photovoltaics alternative energy technology, and in the green home construction in our Zero Energy Demonstration Home  located in Wellsville, NY,” noted Craig Clark, dean, School of Applied Technology at Alfred State. “We are excited about expanding our project-based learning to the Solar Decathlon and using our clean energy expertise and green home construction techniques in developing a practical and buildable demonstration project working with our partners’ students and faculty."
“Second, students will see what they’ve designed actually implemented, not just here in Alfred, but also in China,” said Edwards. “It’s an ideal way for engineering students to understand how a project moves from the conceptual stage to a final product.”
Third, there will be an opportunity for the students from Alfred to travel to China, and for their teammates in China to come to Alfred. The chance to experience a different culture first through working with their teammates and then traveling to their country to experience it first-hand greatly enhances the educational process, Edwards noted.