Denver to Host the DOE Solar Decathlon Competition in 2017

DOE Solar Decathlon Competition 2017

The 8th DOE Solar Decathlon Competition is going to take place in Denver, Colorado. This was announced after Denver won the bid for hosting this upcoming competition in 2017. Considering the fact that Denver has around 300 solar days per year, it is the perfect place for this showdown. Students from the U.S. and abroad are already showing interest in participating and competing for a piece of the 2 million dollar prize fund.

The Winner Does Not Take it All

Those who are more familiar with this event, know that the winner does not walk away with all the chips. The award for first place is $300.000, but the runner up still receives a hefty sum of $225.000. Finishing third is also not at all bad, since it comes with a $150.000 consolation prize.

Ten Different Contests

Still, the DOE Solar Decathlon Competition is about more than money. It's an event where brilliant minds work together in an attempt to design, build and operate the most efficient solar-powered houses. The remarkable projects completed in the previous year's competitions serve as proof that solar solutions can be cost-effective, energy-efficient and beautiful at the same time.

The 10 challenges faced by the competitors range from architecture engineering to home appliance performance. Absolutely everything is taken into account, so the winning team has to excel in several different fields.

solar decathlon winner criteria

This Year's Competitors

Out of the 16 colleges and universities competing in 2017, 14 come from within the U.S. Their list in alphabetical order is as follows:

  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Daytona State College (Daytona Beach, Florida)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, Missouri)
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois)
  • Rice University (Houston, Texas)
  • Syracuse University (Syracuse, New York)
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham, Alabama)
  • University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley, California)
  • University of California, Davis (Davis, California)
  • University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • Washington State University (Pullman, Washington)
  • Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • West Virginia University (Morgantown, West Virginia)

The two international colleges joining this event are:

  • École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland)
  • HU University of Applied Science Utrecht (Utrecht, Netherlands)

Home team advantage does not count as much as the fact that half of the colleges at this event are not debutants. Only 8 of the teams have no previous experience with the solar decathlon, so what we are looking at is a healthy mix of experience and fresh ideas. Of course, there are no clear favorites and only time will tell which team's idea and strategy will prevail in the end.

DOE Solar Decathlon Competition History So Far

The first DOE Solar Decathlon competition was held between the 19th September and the 8th of October 2002 in Washington D.C. After the initial success there have been several more, held every 2 years since 2005. The list of places honored to host this event include:

  • 2005: National Mall, Washington DC
  • 2007: National Mall, Washington DC
  • 2009: National Mall, Washington DC
  • 2011: West Potomac Park, Washington DC
  • 2013: Orange County Great Park, Irvine, California
  • 2015: Universidad del Valle, Santiago de Cali, Colombia

The new development near the Denver International Airport will make things even more interesting. Aside from the abundance of sun it receives, it is carefully picked to serve as a national model for sustainable living. Since everything there is relatively new, the solar houses built in this area are expected to serve as seed projects that will influence the way the area develops.

A Long Way to Go

Fall 2017 is still far from now, however, there is no time to lose. The teams have already started to prepare and raise funds for their 800-foot solar-powered houses. As Alexander Graham Bell once said "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."

It is expected that the teams will leave nothing to chance and that their 100% solar-powered projects will be ready and tested long before the DOE Solar Decathlon Competition starts. When the day comes, they will be transported at the Denver location to face the challenges and their competitors.

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