Chapman University will be part of a team with UC Irvine and two other fellow Orange County campuses competing in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2015, the international student competition to design and build the best solar-powered home.

Chapman, Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College will join UC Irvine as “Team Orange” to create a state-of-the-art full-sized solar residence. The 20 selected student teams, from universities throughout the U.S. and around the world, were announced on Thursday, Feb. 13 by the Department of Energy (DOE).

Chapman University will participate in the Solar Decathlon 2015 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine as part of a coalition of local universities. The decathlon, seen here in 2013, drew thousands of visitors to the park to tour solar-powered homes. (Photo/ Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.)

Chapman University will participate in the Solar Decathlon 2015 at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine as part of a coalition of local universities. The decathlon, seen here in 2013, drew thousands of visitors to the park to tour solar-powered homes. (Photo/ Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.)

“Being selected as one of only 20 teams in this international competition is a tremendous achievement,” said President Jim Doti. “Chapman is proud to be a partner in Team Orange in the Solar Decathlon, which will bring our great universities together in a quest that can potentially benefit others far beyond our campuses.”

“We are extremely proud that Team Orange has been selected for this important competition,” said Chapman University Chancellor Daniele Struppa. “Chapman’s mission emphasizes the importance of educating global citizens, and I cannot imagine a more appropriate way to demonstrate this to our students.”

Team Orange joins an international array of teams selected for the 2015 competition, including teams from Yale and Clemson and four others from California, including Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Stanford University, UC Davis and Cal State Sacramento.

“I’m thrilled that Team Orange has been selected to compete in this world-class event,” said Gregory Washington, dean of UC Irvine’s Samueli School of Engineering, who will lead the team’s effort. His research specialty is “smart” materials that harvest energy. “We and our partners will show California and the nation that our campuses and Orange County lead the way on innovative, affordable solar power and other clean energy advances. The home team can definitely win.”

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman announced the 20 teams who will compete in Solar Decathlon 2015, which will be held at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. The teams will now begin the nearly two-year process of building solar-powered houses that are affordable, innovative and highly energy-efficient.

“As President Obama made clear in the State of the Union address, we need an all-of-the-above energy strategy that creates a safer and more sustainable planet, while ensuring  American students and workers have the skills they need for the challenging jobs of today and tomorrow,” Poneman said. “The Solar Decathlon provides the next generation of America’s architects, engineers and entrepreneurs with the real-world experience and training they need to strengthen U.S. innovation and support new, clean sources of energy.”

Students from all four campuses whooped and cheered at the announcement. Top officials at the partnering Orange County campuses praised the news.

“Given UC Irvine’s tremendous research scope in new energy technologies and its national leadership in sustainability and green technologies, this is a singular opportunity to leverage our strengths and those of our community partners,” said Howard Gillman, UC Irvine’s provost and executive vice chancellor.  “The Solar Decathlon 2015 will showcase the best of Southern California’s talents in this important field.”

Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore said, “The students, faculty, and staff of IVC are proud, ready and eager to participate in the Solar Decathlon with our team partners. It’s a great opportunity for our alternative energy, engineering, business, environmental and design programs to participate in this wonderful demonstration project that will no doubt be a profound and memorable experience for us all.”

“It is a true honor that Team Orange has been selected to compete in the Solar Decathlon, and I look forward to working with our colleagues to demonstrate the remarkable creativity and talent of our students and faculty,” said Tod Burnett, president of Saddleback College.

Entrants will design, construct and test their houses before reassembling them at the competition site in Irvine. As part of the Solar Decathlon, student teams compete in 10 different contests, ranging from architecture and engineering to home appliance performance. They also provide free tours of the homes, showcasing the renewable energy systems and efficient technologies, products and appliances that save money and electricity. The contest highlights a diverse range of design approaches and building technologies in shelters aimed at diverse markets, climates and regions, including urban, suburban and rural settings.