Germany enjoys its title of topsolar-industry producer. And now students from the country can lay claim to another top slot: winners of the United States' 2007 Solar Decathlon.

The team from Technische Universitat Darmstadt beat out 20 teams of architecture, engineering and business students from the United States, Canada, Germany, Puerto Rico and Spain to win the third annual event.

Teams were granted $100,000 each to spend over about two years to design and build an 800-square-foot home powered entirely by solar energy, with off-the-shelf solar-electric panels.

The temporary houses were erected on the grounds of Washington, D.C.'s National Mall as part of the Department of Energy-sponsored event that kicked off last week (see On Your Mark, Get Set, Go Solar).

Second place went to University of Maryland and third went to Santa Clara University.

There Germany Blows

It blows. Wind, that is. And, yet again, Germany took its position as the world's market leader when it comes to harnessing air's movement and turning it into energy, according to a market research report published Friday.

The ABS Energy Research publication said Spain, the United States, India and Denmark followed Germany with the biggest portions of the wind market.

The research firm said the rush to capture wind's energy continues. During 2006, 14,985 megawatts worth of wind-turbine capacity was installed, bringing the total world capacity to 74 gigawatts.

Report analysts suggested wind power's installed capacity will double to 142 gigawatts by 2010.

Analysts also suggested keeping an eye on the United States and Germany, which are expected to catapult to grid parity -- the point when wind is competitive with conventional electricity -- in 2010, with 25,000 megawatts of installed capacity each.