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How To Apply for the Solar Decathlon

Is your school or organization interested in participating in the next U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon? The Solar Decathlon Competition Guide is available!

Two Challenges, Ten Contests

This Solar Decathlon, which spans 2020 to 2023, gives teams the option to participate in one of two Challenges: the Design Challenge or the Build Challenge. Teams that enter the Design Challenge must select from seven allowable building types to create their design. Teams that enter the Build Challenge compete during a two-year period to design and build houses locally in their communities. Whether participating in the Design or Build Challenge, all teams are evaluated across 10 Contests.

Design Challenge (Annual)

Teams that compete in the annual Solar Decathlon Design Challenge must create residential or commercial building designs over one or two semesters. Designs are evaluated on how well they meet the nation’s rapidly evolving demand for buildings that are innovative, cost-effective, quick to build, high-quality, resilient, grid-interactive, efficient, and locally responsive. Teams choose one of seven building type “Divisions” in which to compete. The application deadline for the 2021 Design Challenge was October 20, 2020.

The Design Partners program is an optional opportunity for teams to collaborate with organizations that are considering a zero energy ready design for a planned or existing building project. Learn more about the Design Partners program.

Build Challenge (Biennial)

Teams that compete in the Solar Decathlon Build Challenge must design and construct fully functional houses. The Challenge encourages teams to create solutions for real-world issues in the building industry. Qualifying teams design and build houses that are displayed and measured locally in their communities.

Yes, I’m interested

Challenge teams have the opportunity to meet with event organizers, learn from presentations by thought leaders and collegiate peers, compare team projects, and engage with buildings-related organizations to learn about energy careers.


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