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Resting on the inflated water supply tank

Friday, Oct. 12, 2007

Today started with a military color guard followed with a ribbon-cutting by Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman at 10 a.m. Each team was introduced to the crowd for photos and a handshake with the secretary, and the Solar Village was declared officially open!

Then the crowds came, including members of Congress, foreign dignitaries, and lots and lots and lots of eager sightseers asking 1,000s of questions. The Texas A&M house was a sight to see, everything was completed and in its place. The sun was shining, the PV panels were producing electricity, and gentle breeze blew across our wind turbines, which brought lots of compliments from the visitors.

However, this did not deter our house from breaking down. It started with our solar collector array. Unfortunately, this was not turned on early enough to prevent the formation of steam in the line, which prevents water flow by the normal circulation pump. This was resolved by roping off the array, climbing up on the ladder, releasing the steam, purging the line with a larger pump, and restarting the normal circulation pump -- all of which had to be done as the crowds passed by asking questions.

Then, no matter what we did, we could not get the main pressurization pump to stop chattering -- literally, on-off-on-off. It was annoying. A call to the ITT/Gould engineer identified a possible failure in the pressure switch for reasons unknown, which will be remedied with a new pump and perhaps relocating the pump to provide a better position in regards to the water supply located below the deck.

Then there was the issue of our beautifully designed decks and ramps, which were rejected by the ADA code officials. Apparently, gravel was o.k. on the ground, but it was not o.k. between the deck panels - go figure!

So stay tuned, we'll have a fix for the decks, ramp and pump by tomorrow at 10 a.m. when the tours start again.

Gig'em! Whoop!

Pliny Fisk

View of the Texas A&M House

Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)

Inside view of the finished house

Kitchen Growall

Solar thermal array & ponds

Solar thermal tank

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