Xcel Energy Sponsors CU-Boulder Solar Decathlon Team With Pre-Purchase Of Solar Home

March 13, 2007

Xcel Energy has become the primary sponsor of the 2007 University of Colorado Solar Decathlon team with its agreement to contribute $200,000 toward the zero-energy solar home being designed and built by CU-Boulder students, it was announced today.

Following the competition, Xcel Energy will make the home available for public education purposes and continuing solar research at a location still to be determined.

"We're pleased to be the primary sponsor of the 2007 University of Colorado Solar Decathlon team," said Pat Vincent, president and CEO of Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. "The homes built for the Solar Decathlon demonstrate the applicability of today's solar technologies, while pushing the boundaries of the energy efficiency field. Our sponsorship of the CU team is right in line with our goal to help develop and deploy clean energy technologies."

CU-Boulder Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson said the university is thankful for Xcel Energy's support. "We greatly appreciate their commitment to the communities they serve and their investment in educational initiatives such as the partnership CU now shares through the Solar Decathlon team," he said. "CU students also have a strong legacy of leadership on sustainability and alternative energy technologies, and the success of the Solar Decathlon team has been phenomenal."

The CU team, which won the first-place trophy in both the 2002 and 2005 competitions, will go after its third consecutive Solar Decathlon championship this fall. The team is designing a 700-square-foot "competition module," and 1,400 square feet of supplemental space for a complete 3-bedroom, 3-bath home.

Twenty university teams from the United States, Canada and Europe will transport their homes to Washington, D.C., for the Solar Decathlon this fall, constructing a solar village on the National Mall from Oct. 12 to Oct. 20. The event includes 10 contests ranging from the home's overall design and livability to the engineering and energy efficiency of its lighting and heating/cooling systems.

The bi-annual contest is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and coordinated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.

"The Solar Decathlon, in many ways, embodies what NREL is all about-taking renewable energy and energy saving technologies out of the laboratory and putting them to use in homes and buildings," said NREL Director Dan Arvizu, who was present for the announcement. "The students who compete in the Decathlon are leading the way to an energy future that will be more secure and environmentally friendly."

Special features of this year's CU-Boulder home include building-integrated photovoltaic panels, which will provide a waterproof roofing shell while collecting all of the energy needed to power the home; a ductless heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system with architecturally integrated heat exchangers; and a mechanical spine in which the plumbing and HVAC system are centralized in a completely modular, prefabricated, structural core.

Information on Solar Decathlon sponsors-participants follows:

Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.3 million electricity customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis. More information is available at www.xcelenergy.com.

The University of Colorado Solar Decathlon team comprises about 30 students from the fields of engineering and architecture who are collaborating to design and build a home powered completely by solar energy. Michael Brandemuehl, professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, is faculty adviser to the team for the third consecutive competition. For more information, visit the CU team's Web site at solar.colorado.edu or the competition Web site at www.eere.energy.gov/solar_decathlon.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle.