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Thursday, Oct. 11, 2007

Today was a sprint to the finish, just in time for a press conference and an unofficial early opening at 5 p.m.! Tomorrow is the official opening ceremony at 10 a.m., following which will be large throngs of eager visitors.

Thursday also meant tons of cleanup (literally), getting all construction materials picked-up and moved off-site, moving the generators, cleaning the glass, watering the plants, putting the furniture in (at the very last), mounting the wind turbines (yes, wind turbines), finishing the ramp and battery bench, touching up the paint job here and there and fixing the last minute problems, of which there were several.

The problem with the 24 VAC transformer turned out to be a pinched wire between the thermostat and the heat pump/air conditioner. This was fixed by pulling new thermostat wire. Good thing we used conduit! The heat pump modes have all been tested, and final programming of the thermostat will need to proceed tonight, once the tours are completed.

The holes in the water supply tank were repaired and the tank placed back into service. Unfortunately, the final appliance testing remains on hold due to another pinhole leak in pressure regulator that forces the pressurization pump to turn on-off-on-off...not exactly what is wanted for the long term operation.

The solar collectors were up and running all day, providing a full tank of 130+ F water in the storage tank, and this on a cloudy day. Higher temperatures are expected if the sun breaks through the clouds.

The building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are mounted, and connections will be completed to night. Currently, there is so much energy in the batteries that the team actually had to bleed-off a little power, which was accomplished by running the arc welder from the PV, which was being run by the generator! Otherwise, the Aggie Solar Decathlon house is up and running and sight to behold!

Contest judging begins on Saturday with the architectural judging, followed by communications, lighting, marketing, etc. Winners of each contest are announced separately, and the Grand Winner announced at the end of the competition.

PS: It's not too late to get your tickets to D.C. to see the Solar Decathlon this weekend!

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