The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Blog provides regular updates about Solar Decathlon news and events. Learn what's happening now, and let us know what you think by leaving a comment.
Is That the Sun I See!?! Yes!
September 28, 2017
By Ruby Nahan
One week from today, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 officially opens to the public and the teams start earning points! In addition to forecasted sunnier weather, we’re looking forward to seeing all the smiling sunny faces of the people who come to our Opening Ceremony next Thursday, October 5, starting at 9:30 a.m. Be sure to check out our Visit information so you can join us at the 61st and Peña Station on the University of Colorado A line commuter rail, just one stop from Denver International Airport.
They Build Through Rain, Sleet, Snow or Hail … (But, Hopefully Only Rain)
September 26, 2017
By Ruby Nahan
Despite the overcast skies, rain, and mud, there’s nothing but sunny dispositions at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017!
Teams arrived on site for an all-teams meeting and began assembly of their houses three days ago, on Saturday, September 23 (see our video for highlights). Pretty soon thereafter, it started to rain. Seems we hit an off week in Denver’s rumored 300 days of sun per year. But in the words of our brilliant building code official, Tom Meyers, “Weather. It’s the hidden 11th contest of the Solar Decathlon!”
Five Questions for a Former Decathlete: Susan Renaud
September 25, 2017
What’s your name and what Solar Decathlon team did you support?
I am Susan (Meissner) Renaud. I worked with the University of Virginia team on the 2002 competition.
12 Solar-Powered Houses You’ll See at Solar Decathlon 2017
September 5, 2017
By Mike Mueller
Editor’s Note: This entry has been cross-posted from EERE’s Energy blog.
One month from now, a solar-powered village will suddenly appear in Denver, Colorado, showcasing the latest innovation in building science and design. From modular construction to water conservation and re-use strategies, this year’s crop of Solar Decathlon houses has it all when it comes to technology, design and creativity.
10 Reasons to Visit the Solar Decathlon
August 29, 2017
By Kristin Madding
A free event that will blow your mind is about to land in the Denver area. It’s the Solar Decathlon: a multiday, multiteam, multidisciplinary competition that pits collegiate teams against one another in categories of design, engineering, energy, and more. (Goosebumps!) It’s essentially the national championship of solar home building. But, instead of tossing the ole pigskin, teams from the United States, Switzerland, and the Netherlands are building full-size houses featuring the latest sustainability tech to compete in 10 contests. It’s … kind of a big deal.
There Are No Glass Ceilings in This Solar Village
August 10, 2017
By Olivia Wolford
Engineer, entrepreneur, builder, leader: who are you picturing right now? Actually, these titles are held by several incredible collegiate women who have leadership roles on the Solar Decathlon 2017 teams.
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is the world’s premier design-build competition, challenging students to create an energy efficient, solar-powered house that must perform in 10 contests during a nine-day public event. It’s also a real-world platform where women are proving that they are some of the brightest rising stars in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, before they even graduate.
INFOGRAPHIC: Energy Jobs Inspired by the Solar Decathlon
July 10, 2017
By Linda Silverman and Olivia Wolford
From planning to construction, it requires many roles to take a house from blueprint to reality. One of the key features of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon is the realistic experience it provides to participating students. The Solar Decathlon is a uniquely large-scale university design-build competition, offering theory-to-practice opportunities for student teams and a fascinating learning experience for those visiting this free event in Denver, Colorado. Ten contests evaluate various aspects of energy-efficient, solar-powered houses, which teams have spent nearly two years designing, refining, and building.
The Many Fates of Former Solar Decathlon Houses
June 21, 2017
By Linda Silverman
Compelling. That’s what the stories behind the Solar Decathlon represent to me. Normally, I am focused on the current competition – working with the university teams and our partners to host the Energy Department’s largest public event showcasing student-built solar houses. But lately, I’ve had the chance to learn more about where the 2013 and 2015 competition houses ended up as part of a major website update. That’s why I’m proud to say our Where are the Houses Now historical archive now covers the fate of all past U.S. Solar Decathlon competition houses from 2002 to 2015.
Bark Twice if Your Dog Wants to Go Solar
May 25, 2017
By Alexis Powers
The Solar Decathlon has inspired many design competitions over the past 15 years, among them the Energy Department’s Collegiate Wind Competition, Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Tiny House Competition, the Alliance for Green Heat’s Wood Stove Design Challenge, and EmPower’s Solar Student Competition. But we’ve never seen anything quite like this before.
West Virginia University Withdraws From Solar Decathlon 2017
May 4, 2017
Today, competition organizers announced that West Virginia University has withdrawn from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017.
Real World Projects for Hardworking Students
March 31, 2017
By Joe Simon
The most interesting and challenging questions don’t have a single right answer. Sure, 2 + 2 = 4. Everyone learns that in school. But what is the best design for a livable home powered entirely by the sun that can be transported anywhere in the world and assembled in just a few days? Solar Decathlon competitions worldwide have netted 274 different-yet-correct answers to this question since it was first posed in 2002. More »
Get a Sneak Preview of Solar Decathlon 2017 Houses
February 6, 2017
By Ruby Theresa Nahan
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 is only eight months away, but the competing teams have been hard at work for more than a year. Competition organizers recently reviewed team design development drawings, which reflect about 90% completion of the design details.
Five Former Decathletes Who Became Entrepreneurs
January 13, 2017
By Alexis Powers
It’s no surprise that many of the top-notch students who have participated in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon go on to have successful careers in architecture and engineering. Some become collegiate professors, software engineers, analysts, energy consultants, and much more. We even have a newly elected official among our ranks—Chris Kennedy of the University of Colorado Boulder 2002’s first-place team—who won Colorado’s 23rd District State House race last month.
Around the World with Solar Decathlon
November 30, 2016
By Linda Silverman
This house was designed and constructed by students from Missouri University of Science and Technology as part of Solar Decathlon 2015 in California. | Photo by Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition now spans five continents – from the United States to Spain, France, Colombia, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, to China – bringing together collegiate teams from around the world to address some of the most pressing global energy issues of our time.
Georgia Institute of Technology Withdraws From Solar Decathlon 2017
November 22, 2016
Today, Solar Decathlon organizers announced that Georgia Institute of Technology has withdrawn from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017.