New Delhi: The U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman presented the prestigious Richard King Award for preparing students for Clean Energy to Professor Prasad Vaidya on April 16 at a virtual event organised by the U.S. Government’s Department of Energy.
Professor Vaidya was conferred with the award at the Solar Decathlon Virtual Team Opening Ceremony. The award recognises his efforts in setting up the Solar Decathlon India, a competition among postgraduate and undergraduate students from Indian institutions to empower the next generation to combat Climate Change in the buildings sector. The Solar Decathlon India is endorsed by the Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and reaches out to tens of thousands of students across India and invites them to innovate for net-zero-energy, net-zero-water, net-zero-waste, and climate-resilient buildings.
This year 948 students participated in the competition and worked on 75 live projects. Solar Decathlon India will hold the Finals event on May 8 and May 9, 2021, in which 24 teams will present their state-of-the-art net-zero designs to the Jury Panel.
Professor Vaidya himself mentored teams from CEPT University in Ahmedabad for 3 years from 2017-2019 for the US Solar Decathlon Competitions. He is a LEED Fellow who has worked in environmental sustainability in business and academics for more than 25 years. He is a senior advisor at Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy, New Delhi and Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bengaluru. He is also the Director of Solar Decathlon India.
Solar Decathlon India
Solar Decathlon India focuses on performance-based design, where participating students are given access to learning modules, industry mentors, and building-performance simulation software. Finalist teams have the opportunity to enter an Incubation Hub and the Solar Decathlon India Internship program. There is a faculty development program that seeks input from the teams’ faculty advisors and prepares them to mentor them to become adaptive and multidisciplinary problem solvers. Solar Decathlon India accelerates the National Education Policy (2020) and simultaneously bringing together the real estate and manufacturing industry to create market-ready solutions that address Climate Change with net-zero building solutions that reduce risk to vulnerable populations.
Solar Decathlon India is organised by the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, and Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy under the aegis of the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum.