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Golden, Colorado
April 17–19, 2020
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 Design Challenge Rules. 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.

  • July 2019 – Solar Decathlon Competition Guide is released, and the team application opens.
  • November 5, 2019 – All Design Challenge participating teams must complete the team application.
  • September 2019 to March 2020 – Webinars and building science trainings are offered.
  • April 17-19, 2020 – Finalist teams complete their project submissions and compete with presentations to industry leaders.

2020 Design Challenge Webinars