IMO is proud of its history of innovation, and is pleased to support up-and-coming engineers of tomorrow. So, when we were approached to support a team of student engineers at the University of Illinois taking part in this years Illinois Solar Decathlon, we jumped at the chance. Starting in 2002, the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored a biannual competition where twenty universities from around the world design and construct an innovative and efficient high-performance, low-carbon home that mitigates climate change and improves our quality of life through greater affordability, resilience and energy efficiency. Once completed, each universitys project is transported to a central location and over the course of a week, are judged on ten specific points including energy balance, architecture and communications. The Solar Decathlon competitions aim to be a research goal of reducing the cost of solar-powered homes and advancing solar technology.
Since their initial involvement with the Solar Decathlon competitions in 2007, the University of Illinois has built five homes, one of which achieved second place. The Universitys engineering team has shown a commitment to education of the public about how solar power and sustainable design are feasible and attractive options. In fact, their entry for the 2011 Solar Decathlon is located on the campus of the the University of Illinois and is used for teaching, research and public education ongoing.
For the current Solar Decathlon, the University of Illinois have built Adapthaus. As well as providing energy efficiency, the engineering team have also created an exceptionally safe home by deploying our donated FireRaptor rapid shutdown devices for all of the solar panels mounted on the Adapthaus roof, with an additional emergency shutdown switch located at ground level. As the solar panels used did not exceed the maximum 350W input power, they were able to install the FireRaptor in a configuration of 2 panels for every one FireRaptor, and thanks to the plug-and-play nature of the FireRaptor, installation was quick and easy and is now fully compliant with NEC2020 safety recommendations.