Solar Decathlon Teams Enter Construction Phase; Readying for October Competition

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 is coming to Denver in October, and teams are building their entries to be ready for the competition.

“Right now, [the teams] are all in the heavy-duty construction phase,” Solar Decathlon Director Linda Silverman told Renewable Energy World. “They assemble the houses on their campuses, and then they will need to disassemble and ship their houses to Denver where they will reassemble before the start of the event.”

Thirteen teams are set to compete in this year’s event, which challenges teams of college students to design and build fully functioning solar-powered houses and compete in 10 contests worth 100 points each.

Silverman said that this year, there are two new contests — innovation and water.

The innovation contest focuses on how students employ innovative concepts over off-the-shelf solutions, and the water contest will measure conservation, use and reuse.

Silverman also said that, for the first time in the event’s history, teams will be eligible for cash prizes, including $300,000 for first place.

“The teams are mostly self-financing,” Silverman said. “They can use the prize money to offset that, but they tend to get funds from the university and local or national sponsors or alumni.”

The University of California Berkley/University of Denver team turned to crowdfunding to help their project. According to their crowdfunding page, the team has raised about $15,000 to date. The team said on the page that the house design addresses urbanization and gentrification by being stackable, sustainable and affordable for families in a growing urban area.

Get to know this year’s teams and check out some of their latest updates in social media:

Lead image: Rendering of University of Nevada, Las Vegas team’s sustainable, “age-in-place” home for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017. Credit: solardecathlon.gov


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Jennifer Delony, analyst for TransmissionHub, started her career as a B2B news editor in the local and long-distance telecommunications industries in the '90s. Jennifer began covering renewable energy issues at the local level in 2005 and covered U.S. and Canadian utility-scale wind energy as editor of North American Windpower magazine from 2006-2009. She also provides analysis for the oil and natural gas sectors as editor of Oilman Magazine.

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