Zero Net Energy Tiny House Competition open to public this Saturday Oct.15th in Sacramento

the Tiny House Competition is underway! Open to Public on Saturday October 15th @ Consumnes River College in Sacramento, CA


 SMUD is hosting The Tiny House Competition, a home building competition, on October 15, 2016 at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento.  In keeping with the excitement of the Tiny House movement, as seen in documentaries and the Tiny House Nation TV show, the competition will inspire. The Tiny House Competition is modeled after the Solar Decathlon created by the U.S. Department of Energy. The colleges and universities participating in The Tiny House Competition will explore net-zero energy building, green building techniques, and sustainable living. The teams will design and build houses on wheels, ranging between 100 and 400 square feet. These homes will feature smart energy appliances, green building techniques and the use of renewable energy, creating innovative net-zero homes.

10 College teams have traveled with their zero net energy, custom-designed, tiny houses to Sacramento to create a tiny village at Consumnes River College.  If you’re anywhere near Sacramento, plan on checking this out this coming Saturday.

For those that can’t make it, we’ll be trying our best to film and create some short videos as part of our Watt Trekker video series, for potential use in teaching solar in your classrooms.  We’ll be hosting a series of activities in the Solar Discovery Zone. Stop by and say Hello!

The event is FREE and runs from 9am to 4pm.   Here is the location @ Consumnes River College.

Teams from these colleges are participating….

California State University, Fresno
Laney College
College of the Sequoias
University of California, Berkeley
Cosumnes River College
Santa Clara University
San Jose City College
University of California, Santa Cruz & Cabrillo College
California State University, Sacramento
California State University, Chico

Tiny House Competition in the news…

[Sacramento St News 10-10-16] Hitch up the tiny house: Students head to SMUD contest

[East Bay Times, 10-5-16] Bay Area: Teams racing to solve housing, energy dilemmas in one small package

[CBS SF BayLocal 10-7-16] Santa Clara Students Put Spin On Solar Power For ‘Tiny House’ Contest


Earthday 2016 @ the Solar Discovery Faire


On Earthday 2016, Rosemont Middle School in Southern California hosted the annual Solar Discovery Faire. The event was organized by Solar Schoolhouse, sponsored by Glendale Water & Power, and run by district teachers and student volunteers.  The community was invited to this FREE event as a way to become familiar with solar energy and what we can do with it, through a series of fun hands-on activities.  These included making solar whirlygigs, baking clay medallions in solar ovens, making solar greeting cards, racing solar boats,  getting creative by etching designs on wood using a magnifying glass, building solar fountains, and sampling solar cooked treats. Families were also able to talk with several local solar vendors about options for their own homes.   Solar Discovery Faires are a great way to introduce the Sun,  the primary energy source here on Earth, to your community in an accessible and fun manner.  Consider including an interactive solar energy activity at your own event, to start the conversation about how sunshine can be a big part of our clean energy future.


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“Catching the Sun” – new Film showing April 27 & 29th

We’ve scheduled several showings of this excellent new film “Catching the Sun”.   As we celebrate Earth Day this year, this film provides some insight into the growing movement toward a solar-powered world.   Scheduled in Glendale CA on April 29th.  and Sebastopol, CA on April 27th.  for other locations check the film website.

Award-winning filmmaker and eco-activist Shalini Kantayya’s documentary broadens the often faceless climate change debate to include people of color and explore the possibilities of social and economic justice in a soon-to-be solar-powered world.
— Julie Anderson, LA Film Festival


2016 Summer Institute for Educators… registration now open

The 5-day Solar Schoolhouse Summer Institute for Educators (SIE) for 2016 is scheduled for July 24th-29th, in Sebastopol, California. This the 14th year we’ve offered this solar energy  professional development experience for educators.  Consistent themes are hands-on, relevant, real-world… and fun!  As you explore Climate Science and it’s effects with your students, it’s important to provide an element of hope… through exploring clean energy options. Increased solar literacy provides students the necessary tools to become active participants as we move toward a clean energy future.

Educators at the 2015 Summer Institute share their finished projects.

Educators at the 2015 Summer Institute share their finished projects.

2RockSolar_20120302 007-ParallelPowerSMParticipating Educators learn the fundamentals and history of passive solar design, solar thermal, and solar electricity, then apply these lessons in a variety of projects (simple solar ovens, model solar homes, solar powered fountains, cell phone chargers, LED lights, and more).  Lessons are adapted to your teaching situation and aligned with Common Core & Next Generation Science Standard goals.

Limited scholarships are available. To Learn more and to Register visit