U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Solar Energy Technologies Program – News

Energy Department Opens Competition to Select Solar Decathlon 2015 Teams

November 6, 2013

A modern one-story housing structure.

Exterior of the house built by students from Vienna Institute of Technology that won the U.S. Department of Energy Department Solar Decathlon 2013.
Credit: Jason Flakes, U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

The Energy Department on November 1 began the process to select collegiate teams to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015. Colleges, universities, and other post-secondary educational institutions are welcome to submit proposals, which are reviewed, scored, and ranked based on a merit review process. Subject to the quantity and quality of proposals, up to 20 teams will be selected to begin a two-year project to build solar-powered, highly energy-efficient houses that combine affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence.

Throughout the two-year project, the selected teams will design, construct, and test their houses before reassembling them at the Solar Decathlon 2015 competition site, which will be announced in the coming months. As part of the Solar Decathlon, teams compete in ten different contest categories—ranging from best architecture and engineering to energy production for heating and cooling—while gaining valuable real-world experience in a growing global industry.

In fall 2015, the student teams will showcase their solar-powered houses to the public, highlighting renewable energy systems and energy-efficient technologies, products, and appliances that are already available to homeowners to help them save money by saving energy. The selected teams and their proposed projects will represent a diverse range of design approaches, building technologies, target markets, geographic locations, climates, and regions, including urban, suburban, and rural settings.

Since 2002, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., had been the venue for five successful Solar Decathlons. In 2013, the Energy Department moved the competition to Irvine, California. Solar Decathlon 2013 concluded on October 13. See the Energy Department progress alert.