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2017 Solar Decathlon College Team Competition


Thursday, September 17, 2015

(EERE) seeks applicants to its 2017 Solar Decathlon College Team Competition. This Competition supports the Obama administration’s commitment to improving the nation’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education efforts, and to building a more knowledge-intensive workforce. The Department of Energy (DOE) and EERE are eager to create and support education and workforce development programs that are specific to applied energy, and are essential to carrying out DOE’s mission and advancing energy technologies for the future.

One of America’s most pressing and technically difficult scientific and engineering challenges is developing new and better technologies to supply clean and renewable energy. As the nation’s demand for energy increases and the energy sector grows to meet these needs, the United States faces an impending shortage of the skilled workforce needed to support this sector. An educated and highly-trained workforce is imperative if it is to support today’s low-carbon economy as it develops—and lead it to tomorrow. Finding solutions to these challenges is critical today and for America’s future. For this reason, DOE’s Strategic Plan supports developing and providing educational and technical training opportunities for students and for the workforce.

Since its inception in 2000, the Solar Decathlon has been a high-profile DOE-branded education and workforce development program for university-level students. It culminates in a competition that is a public demonstration of EERE technologies that promotes energy efficiency and increases awareness about residential energy use; fostering greater adoption of clean energy technologies. The competition demonstrates that an aesthetically beautiful and well-designed house can generate enough thermal and electrical energy to meet the needs of a single family household. At the bi-annual Solar Decathlons, first in Washington, D.C. and then in Irvine, California, 65,000-100,000 visitors have toured the houses to see student teams’ use of EERE technologies in action. More information about past Solar Decathlons is available at

The Solar Decathlon’s wide audience includes collegiate student teams, the building industry, the sustainable and clean energy industries, homeowners, and general public consumers. The student teams pursue multidisciplinary approaches to meet DOE’s requirements in designing, building, and operating energy-efficient, solar-powered houses. The program’s technology showcase educates the attending public and industry professionals about the benefits, affordability, and availability of clean energy solutions, with research papers, media coverage, and digital outreach serving as tools to amplify this message.

DOE is inviting collegiate teams of creative designers and innovators to enter this competition. For the first time in a Solar Decathlon competition, DOE intends to offer monetary prizes. For the Solar Decathlon 2017, DOE will award up to $2,000,000 in prizes to teams that are selected to participate via this Notice, and that bring an eligible house to the Solar Decathlon competition. The prizes will be awarded to the same 20 lead organizational entities that submit applications to DOE under this competition and are selected by DOE to compete, and that complete a house for the Solar Decathlon. Recipients will receive no Federal funding up front, but will be eligible for prize money upon completion of the competition.

The competition is open to all collegiate teams in the United States and around the world, but the focus is on design solutions for the United States.

For more information, please visit: