Last Friday, the results of the DOE's Solar Decathlon Competition, in which university teams build a portable energy self sufficient home and display it on the Washington Mall in DC for a week, were announced.
MIT, fielding its first Solar Decathlon Team, placed 13th in a field of 20, scoring 833 points relative to the 1025 racked up by the winner Technische Universistat Darmstadt, out of Germany. The MIT team made particularly strong showings in the judgement categories of "Energy Balance" (a metric for PV power generation) and "Getting Around" (the number of miles they drove their EV, powered by the PV panels on the house).
The press usually only recognizes MIT teams that officially win the competitions they enter, so I felt the need to put up this post.
I am damn proud of the MIT Solar Decathlon Team, regardless of the outcome. The team was created from nothing last year by force of will by Corey Fucetola and Kurt Keville. Quite unfortunately, the general MIT administration seemed unwilling to lift a finger or risk a cent for the team. However, from what I hear, MIT President Susan Hockfield and Beth Garvin, head of the MIT Alumni Association, stepped up at the last minute to provide as much support as they could for the Team. From what Corey says, the level of support provided to the Team from the MIT DC Alum Chapter was HUGE! And this came as a result of the support of Hockfield and Garvin.
I remember being present at the Muddy Charles Pub when the Team's founders were discussing whether they should go for it or not and a big concern was "what if we don't win"? In my opinion, this question keeps a lot of amazing MIT folks from realizing their full potential. IT'S OK TO LOSE. The world's best entrepreneurs, including those in the energy space, are some of the world's best losers as well! If we as an MIT Energy Community hope to have the world look back 30 years from now and say that MIT was the nexus of the modern energy revolution, (which is within our grasp) I think that we all need to learn how to leverage our amazing talents as far as possible by being willing to take a little more risk.
Here, here to the MIT Solar Decathlon Team. When the MIT Team finally does win the contest some time in the near future, we will have the entrepreneurial spirit of the 2007 Team to thank for it!