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Photo of a home design model from a previous competition.

Design Challenge

Teams competing in the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge work for one or two academic semesters. Participants prepare creative solutions for real-world issues in the building industry.

Qualifying teams complete a design project and attend the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge Weekend, where they present their designs to a panel of industry expert jurors, compare their projects to those of other teams, learn from presentations by thought leaders and collegiate peers, and engage with a variety of organizations about energy careers. Winning teams are recognized at an Awards Banquet, and winning project presentations are published on the website. The competition and winners are promoted through a variety of media outreach efforts, which provide participants and their collegiate institutions an opportunity for national exposure.

Collegiate institutions that participate in the challenge are recognized as leaders who are producing career-ready professionals with cutting-edge skills. Industry partners who collaborate with teams gain national and local recognition and have the opportunity to interact with knowledgeable future design and construction professionals.

Summary of Important Dates

Complete details are available in the Solar Decathlon Competition Guide. Please note the following key milestones for the 2019 Design Challenge:

  • July 31, 2018: The 2019 Design Challenge Rules released; the team application available on the website.
  • November 6, 2018: Deadline by which all teams must complete their team application online.
  • February 19, 2019: Deadline by which all teams must complete the Project Progress Report and completed the building science training.
  • April 12-14, 2019: Solar Decathlon Design Challenge Weekend: Finalist teams present to industry leaders on the NREL main campus in Golden, Colorado. Jurors review each team’s Project Report and presentation to determine Design Challenge winners.

Webinar

Solar Decathlon Design Challenge

Date: September 12, 2018
See the presentation slides, or watch the video below.