Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 student design competition, which challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive, will take place October 5 – 15, 2017, in Denver, Colorado, Energy Department and Denver officials announced today.

The 14 collegiate teams competing in 2017 will focus on creating high-performance houses that reflect current market conditions, innovative building and the best in sustainable living.

Student teams will provide free public tours of their energy-efficient houses featuring cutting-edge technologies on these dates:

  • Thursday, Oct. 5–Monday, Oct. 9, 2017 
  • Thursday, Oct. 12–Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017 

“The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges and inspires students to become our next green energy industry leaders,” said Under Secretary of Energy for Science and Energy Dr. Franklin Orr. “The students in the Solar Decathlon competition gain invaluable hands-on experience on appealing designs, sustainable materials and cutting-edge technologies.  Denver’s passion to create eco-friendly developments serves as a model for communities throughout the country and the world.”  

“Denver is proud to work with the U.S. Department of Energy to host this fun and engaging academic competition in our city,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “This opportunity not only further elevates the Denver metro area’s leadership in energy efficiency, but also allows us to spotlight our burgeoning solar energy industry.”

The 2017 competition has been enhanced with challenging new contests to motivate students and boost the public’s interest in accessible, sustainable living. The upcoming event is designed to present solutions for today's clean energy marketplace, with emphases on innovation in all areas of sustainable living; water use and re-use strategies; smart energy use and market potential.

The competition will retain emphases on cost-effective architectural design; energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, appliances and electronics; occupant health and comfort; and communications. 

For the first time, teams are eligible for cash prizes. Each team that successfully builds a solar house at the site and finishes the competition will receive $100,000. The third-place finisher will receive $150,000, the second-place finisher $225,000, and the first-place finisher will receive $300,000.

The Solar Decathlon 2017 is a true public-private partnership, bringing together the U.S. Department of Energy; Energetics, Inc., the program administrator for the event; the City of Denver; Denver International Airport (DIA); and private corporate sponsors to facilitate a dynamic event in the Denver metro region. 

The event will take place near the 61st & Peña “smart stop” on the new commuter rail A-line connecting Denver International Airport to downtown Denver, within 10 minutes of DIA and 40 minutes of downtown Denver. Denver, DIA, Panasonic and Xcel Energy are collaborating on a transit-oriented, sustainable development at this rail station. The development will be built out to emphasize sustainable, vibrant urban living, linking employment opportunities with new housing choices along Denver’s eastern corridor.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 competition will feature several additional activities:  

  • The Solar Decathlon Competition and Public Exhibit — Free of charge, the public is invited to tour the competition homes, learn about energy efficiency and sustainability, and engage with student teams. Opening celebrations, contest awards and a final competition awards presentation will allow attendees each day to share in the competition’s excitement. Activities are being planned for consumers and professionals of all ages, promising to engage a wide demographic around sustainability topics.
  • Community Festival —Food trucks, pavilions and family activities will create a festival atmosphere.
  • Sustainability Expo — Forward-thinking companies and nonprofits will share strategies, products and technologies that can be incorporated into homes today and in the future.
  • Professional Development and Consumer Workshops— Organizers and sponsors will host workshops featuring an array of green building and sustainability topics for professionals and consumers.
  • Education Days — Multiple field trips are planned for K-12 students with dedicated educational activities and tours of the teams’ houses, as well as professional development for teachers.

For more information about the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, including contests, teams and sponsorship opportunities, please visit solardecathlon.gov.