The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Blog provides regular updates about Solar Decathlon news and events.
Apply to Compete in the 2020 Design Challenge Today!
July 31, 2019
Ready to test your creativity, ingenuity, and passion for designing highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy? The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® 2020 Design Challenge is ready for you!
With the release of the Solar Decathlon 2020 Competition Guide, interested collegiate institutions can find detailed information on how to apply for the 2020 Design Challenge. 2020 Design Challenge teams that are selected as Finalist Teams will present their projects at an expert-juried event, April 17–19, 2020, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon offers two tracks: (1) an annual “Design Challenge” and (2) a biennial “Build Challenge.” The latest Competition Guide includes the 2020 Design Challenge Rules and updates to the 2020 Build Challenge Rules. Note that applications for the 2020 Build Challenge closed December 10, 2018. Participating Build Challenge teams will build and showcase their homes June 25–July 5, 2020, in partnership with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., during which winners will be announced.
2019 Design Challenge Weekend April 12-14, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. (Photo: John DeLa Rosa/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.)
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. The winners are those teams that best blend architectural and engineering excellence with innovation, market potential, building efficiency, and smart energy production. The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon continues to “push the envelope” on the design of the most high-performance, efficient, affordable, innovative buildings while leveraging opportunities to showcase student innovation and STEM education, as well as to foster workforce development opportunities.
Additional details are on the Solar Decathlon website. The Department of Energy is excited to work with the next generation of building science professionals!
Congratulations to the 2019 Winners!
April 16, 2019
The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University team was victorious as the Grand Winner at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® Design Challenge Weekend. The event was held on April 12–14, 2019, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, and included 45 finalist teams, representing 37 collegiate institutions, across the United States and other countries.
Save the Date for the 2020 Design Challenge
March 18, 2019
Love designing high-performance buildings? Ready for the experience of a lifetime? The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® Design Challenge is ready for you.
Collegiate institutions can start preparing for the 2020 Design Challenge, planned for April 17–19, 2020, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.
Good Luck to the Design Challenge Finalist Teams!
March 11, 2019
Five weeks and counting! Our teams have been working hard, and we’re excited to announce this year’s finalist teams for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® Design Challenge.
Congratulations to the Solar Decathlon 2020 Build Challenge teams!
January 28, 2019
These collegiate institutions represent a mix of new and returning teams that have participated in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® in previous years. Below are the teams participating in the Build Challenge.
Livin’ the Dream at Solar Decathlon Middle East
December 7, 2018
By Joan Glickman,
DOE Building Technologies Office
UAE in November … A mix of other-worldly modernism, stunning mosques, an impressive Louvre, beautiful beaches and more … standing side by side in the desert heat, where 90°F is considered mild. And, amidst all this, about 50 miles outside of Dubai, 15 energy- and water-efficient homes, with state-of-the-art technologies, designed and constructed by hundreds of students from across the globe. Sounds like a dream, but it was actually a reality.
Solar Decathlon Build Challenge Prize Amounts Announced
November 1, 2018
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is excited to announce the prize amounts for the Solar Decathlon 2020 Build Challenge. Solar Decathlon Build Challenge teams work during a two-year period to design and build complete houses that incorporate state-of-the-art energy and building design practices and technologies. DOE will select up to 12 finalist teams across the Local Build and National Showcase Divisions. All finalist teams that meet Solar Decathlon Build Challenge requirements will receive prize funds to assist in defraying their costs. Funds will be provided at various points during the two-year period pending completion of specific deliverables and requirements.
Apply Today! Solar Decathlon Application Deadline, November 6, 2018
September 25, 2018
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon continues to “push the envelope” on the design of the most high-performance, efficient, affordable, innovative buildings while leveraging opportunities to showcase student innovation and STEM education, as well as to foster workforce development opportunities.
Guidance to Collegiate Institutions on Participating in the Build Challenge
September 13, 2018
Participating as a team in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an intense but rewarding endeavor. What makes the Solar Decathlon unique is the interdisciplinary nature of the competition, requiring student and faculty involvement from multiple disciplines and departments, and the real-life experience it provides to students, preparing them for jobs after graduation. At the same time, this requires a lot of support and cooperation from the collegiate institution.
View this Week’s Webinar on the New Competition
August 24, 2018
If you missed this week’s webinar on the new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon, you can view it on our website. The webinar, “Kick Start Your Solar Decathlon Competition!“, provided an overview of the competition.
DOE will host two more Solar Decathlon webinars, which will discuss competition requirements and answer questions.
Solar Decathlon Design Challenge
Date: September 12, 2018
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. ET
Solar Decathlon Build Challenge
Date: September 13, 2018
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. ET
Solar Decathlon Competition Guide Released
August 10, 2018
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is excited to release the Solar Decathlon 2019–2020 Competition Guide. This guide provides detailed information on competition rules and how to apply. The competition continues to “push the envelope” on the design of the most high-performance, efficient, affordable, innovative buildings while leveraging opportunities to showcase student innovation and STEM education, as well as to foster workforce development opportunities.
As previously announced, Solar Decathlon 2019–2020 will offer two tracks that build on the strengths of previous DOE student competitions: (1) an annual “Design Challenge” that is the new name for the former Race to Zero Student Design Competition, and (2) a “Build Challenge” that expands on the original Solar Decathlon. Teams in both tracks will present their projects at a single expert-juried event in April 2019. The expert jury will select winners of the Design Challenge and separately approve Build Challenge teams to move on to the construction phase. The Build Challenge teams will then go on to build and showcase their designs at public and industry events in 2020, where final Build Challenge winners will be announced. More »
Solar Decathlon National Student Competition
June 20, 2018
DOE is excited to announce the joining of its two student building design competitions, Solar Decathlon and Race to Zero, into one national Solar Decathlon competition.
The combined competition will feature two tracks. The first is a Design-only track (formerly Race to Zero) and the second is a Design/Build track. Each track challenges student teams to “push the envelope” and design the most high-performance, efficient, affordable, innovative buildings while leveraging opportunities to showcase student innovation and STEM education, and foster workforce development opportunities.
Solar Decathlon: Growing Across the Globe
January 24, 2018
By Linda Silverman
Solar Decathlon Director
The international Solar Decathlon movement is alive and well and prospering. There are a lot of new developments in the five international Solar Decathlons being planned in 2018 and 2019. The next event will be Solar Decathlon China, taking place August 2-17 in Dezhou, China, with 22 teams. Solar Decathlon Europe recently announced the 16 teams that will participate in its 2019 event in Szentendre, Hungary. Interestingly, this event will focus on retrofitting houses. Teams interested in competing in Solar Decathlon Africa in September 2019, in Benguerir, Morrocco, have until March 14 to submit their applications. Solar Decathlon Latin America and the Carribbean recently announced its 15 teams that will compete in its 2019 event. Finally, Solar Decathlon Middle East will host 21 teams competing in its November 2018 event in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Solar Decathlon Here, There, and Beyond
October 30, 2017
By Megan Close and Daniel Rubin
Video by Garrett Bourcier and Cody Williams
While the U.S. Department of Energy closes the chapter on Solar Decathlon 2017, our fellow global competition organizers are gearing up for multiple international events. Next year, Solar Decathlon China and the first Solar Decathlon Middle East will take place. In 2019, Solar Decathlon Europe, Solar Decathlon Latin American and the Caribbean, and the first Solar Decathlon Africa will host solar villages inspired by the U.S. competition.
Solar Design Lessons from the 2017 Solar Decathlon Winners
October 26, 2017
This article was originally published on the blog of Aurora Solar, a solar design and sales software company.
By Andrew Gong
Two weeks ago, during the Solar Decathlon 2017 competition, we explored the solar powered house designs from participating university teams. The designs showcased many creative and resourceful design strategies—and presented a fun challenge for modeling in Aurora.
With the competition now complete, today’s post takes a closer look at the top three teams to identify some of the solar design lessons from their success.