This summer, teams of college students have amassed on their school campuses to create solar-only, off-the-grid, self-powered homes, which will eventually compete in Washington D.C. for the Department of Energy's 2007 Solar Decathlon. To build the houses, students are limited to currently available, off-the-shelf technologies, and must also focus on design, comfort, and market viability. The groups will move their eco-friendly homes to the National Mall in D.C., where the "solar village" of houses will be open for touring by the general public, and will be scored by judges for architecture, engineering, and energy balance, amongst others. The whole shebang is sponsored by heavy-hitters like Sprint and BP, but it's unclear whether the winning team receives prizes beyond the knowledge that their solar home crushed the others in head-to-head combat.

[Via CNET]