For the first time in the history of the Solar Decathlon competition, a European team has taken top honors. German students from Technische Universitat Darmstadt beat out 19 other collegiate teams in the Department of Energyâ€™s third Solar Decathlon held on the National Mall in Washington D.C. from October 12 â€“ 20. The competition invited colleges and universities from around the country and around the world to build and operate prototype zero-carbon homes using the latest in solar and sustainable technology. Stretching four blocks and flanking both sides of the Mall, each home in the Solar Village had to power itself using only the sun over the two-week trial, and also had to generate enough energy to fuel an electric car. Over the course of the competition, judges assessed the homes in ten categories ranging from architecture and engineering to energy balance and comfort.