Monday, August 15, 2011

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 To Help Inspire Sustainability, Innovation, Education

To spur growth of the solar industry and support education, Dow Corning has announced that it is a sustaining sponsor of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011, which will be held Sept. 23 - Oct. 2 in Washington, D.C.

The sponsorship includes overseeing the creation of educational resources that will help strengthen middle school students' understanding of solar energy and sustainability and the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The materials include:

-- A school curriculum for teachers, designed to introduce students in grades 5-8 to the principles and potential of renewable energy technologies by showcasing the cutting-edge applications of solar power and energy efficiency solutions at the Solar Decathlon;

-- A Student Welcome & Education Center on the Decathlon grounds where students, teachers and parents can access educational materials about solar energy and engage in a series of interactive, hands-on and video-based educational opportunities; and

-- A student-oriented Solar Decathlon program to be made available to students visiting the Solar Village in-person and virtually via the Solar Decathlon website.

"Education, research and development, and manufacturing are part of a cycle that allows the United States to compete in a fast-paced global market," said Dow Corning President and CEO Robert D. Hansen. "Our participation in this year's Solar Decathlon will help fulfill our promise to be an active, involved collaborator with students, researchers, manufacturers, and governments as we prepare the next generation to address the complex problems in our world."

The Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

"There has never been a more important time to further develop viable, renewable, clean, domestically generated energy sources, and there is no better way to achieve that goal than by challenging great minds from universities all over the world," said Hansen. "The students' hard work is a testament to the endless possibilities attainable through math and science education. We hope these efforts will help fuel the next generation of scientific discovery."

The Solar Decathlon was previously held in 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2009. Dow Corning sponsored an electronic scoreboard that provided daily results to event spectators at the National Mall in 2009.

"The Solar Decathlon depends on the valuable support of our many sponsors," said Richard King, director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. "Our sponsors play an integral role in ensuring that the Solar Decathlon provides a rich learning experience for the student decathletes and that we effectively educate the public about the money-saving opportunities and environmental benefits presented by clean energy products and design solutions."

A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning is applying more than 65 years of experience to bring innovation and efficiencies to the silicon-based materials that are ideal for solar applications, including silicon-based materials for next-generation solar cells, protective coatings for solar cells, high-performance silicone encapsulants, adhesives, and sealants. Dow Corning is also the majority shareholder in the Hemlock Semiconductor Group joint venture, a leading provider of polycrystalline silicon.

In the past six years, Dow Corning and the Hemlock Semiconductor Group have announced investments of more than $5 billion to research and develop as well as to expand production of materials critical to the solar industry.


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