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Denver, Colorado
October 5-15, 2017

Solar Decathlon Contests

Like the Olympic decathlon, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon consists of 10 contests. The contests evaluate cost-effective design; innovation balanced with market potential; water and energy efficiency; energy production and time-of-use energy; and communications strategies.

For the first time in 2017, teams were eligible for cash prizes. At the end of the competition, the teams were ranked according to their net score to earn prizes as follows:

  • 1st: $300,000
  • 2nd: $225,000
  • 3rd: $150,000
  • 4th: $125,000
  • 5th plus: $100,000.

Each Solar Decathlon contest was worth a maximum of 100 points, for a potential competition total of 1,000 points.

Teams earned points three ways:

  1. Task Completion
    Teams complete tasks that simulate modern living. They perform household chores such as cooking and doing laundry. They host dinner parties and game nights for fellow competitors. And, they are required to log miles driving an electric vehicle charged by the house's solar electric system.

  2. Monitored Performance
    Team houses and appliances perform to specified criteria, such as maintaining indoor temperature and humidity within a tight range, ensuring refrigerators maintain appropriate temperatures, and carefully controlling the flow of electricity between the house and the utility.

  3. Jury Evaluation
    Jurors who are experts in fields, such as architecture, engineering, homebuilding, water use and reuse, and communications, award points for features that cannot be measured, such as aesthetics, design inspiration and innovation.

Contests based on task completion or monitored performance are called measured contests; contests based on jury evaluation are call juried contests.

Learn more about the 10 Solar Decathlon 2017 contests:

For complete information, see the Solar Decathlon 2017 rules. Solar Decathlon teams should always refer to the rules.