Photo of visitors on the back porch of Czech Republic’s Solar Decathlon 2013 house.

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

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About Solar Decathlon

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

The first Solar Decathlon was held in 2002; the competition has since occurred biennially in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013.

The next Solar Decathlon will take place Oct. 8–18, 2015, at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. The Solar Decathlon competition houses will be open to visitors from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily on eight days over two weekends:

  • Thursday, Oct. 8–Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015
  • Thursday, Oct. 15–Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

The remaining dates, the Solar Decathlon village will be closed for competition activities.

Open to the public free of charge, the Solar Decathlon gives visitors the opportunity to tour solar-powered houses, gather ideas to use in their own homes, and learn how energy-saving features can help them save money today.

Purpose

The Solar Decathlon:

  • Educates students and the public about the money-saving opportunities and environmental benefits presented by clean-energy products and design solutions

  • Demonstrates to the public the comfort and affordability of homes that combine energy-efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems available today

  • Provides participating students with unique training that prepares them to enter our nation's clean-energy workforce.

Impact

Since 2002, the Solar Decathlon has:

  • Involved 112 collegiate teams, which pursued a multidisciplinary approach to study the requirements for designing and building energy-efficient, solar-powered houses

  • Established a worldwide reputation as a successful educational program and workforce development opportunity for thousands of students

  • Affected the lives of nearly 17,000 collegiate participants

  • Expanded to include an additional 81 teams and more than 12,000 students in three competitions around the world: Solar Decathlon Europe, Solar Decathlon China 2013, and the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

  • Educated the public about the benefits, affordability, and availability of clean energy solutions by generating widespread media coverage and harnessing digital tools to reach tens of millions of people.