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Solar Decathlon: College Students Design Stellar Solar-Powered Houses


Dubbed "one the most highly anticipated design competitions in the world," the Solar Decathlon, held by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost effective, energy efficient and attractive.  According to DOE, “the winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.”


This October 3 through 13, 20 competition houses will be open for visitors to tour at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. The exhibition of competition houses marks the culmination of efforts of hundreds of college “decathletes” representing 20 schools from 11 states and the District of Columbia as well as the Czech Republic, Austria and Canada. DOE chose these 20 schools’ initial proposals in January as a short list from a much wider slate of original contestants.


The Solar Decathlon, a biennial event first launched in 2002, aims to promote ever greater innovations in solar-powered living. This is the first year that the event takes place outside Washington, D.C. Open to the public free of charge, the Solar Decathlon gives visitors the opportunity to tour the houses, gather ideas to use in their own homes, and learn how energy-saving features can help them save money.


Since 2002, the Solar Decathlon has involved 112 college teams; established a worldwide reputation as a successful educational program for thousands of students; affected the lives of 17,000 college participants; expanded to three competitions around the world in Europe, China and the United States; and educated the public about the benefits, affordability and availability of clean energy solutions.


If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for the Solar Decathlon 2015, please contact Betsy Black, U.S. Department of Energy, at 202-287-1860 or  Those interested in volunteering at this year’s event can follow this link.


"I hope that my generation will be the one to finally say that the ignorance stops here,   and that it's time to change our culture and values about energy."

 -Derek Ouyang, speaking at TEDxStanford about his university's entry into the Solar Decathlon


More about the Solar Decathlon:

Get a sneak peek at this year's featured solar homes: