The Solar Decathlon 2013 teams cheer ahead of the start of competition at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA on October 3, 2013 (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

The Solar Decathlon 2013 teams cheer ahead of the start of competition at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA on October 3, 2013 (Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 is an international competition with the goal of educating the public about energy-saving residential designs.

In this award-winning program, sixteen collegiate teams design, build, and maintain sustainable solar-powered houses. This competition serves as an avenue for academic institutions and their respective teams to showcase their house designs that promote sustainability and conservation.

For the GRoW Home, we chose to highlight the benefit of growing food within your own home across all seasons.

Learn more about the Solar Decathlon at



10 Contests infographicEach team spends two years designing and creating a house to compete in 10 contests that fall into two categories: Juried and Measured.

Juried contests are judged by a panel of various professionals in the construction and academic fields. They represent many aspects of the building industry. These contests include Architecture, Market Appeal, Engineering, Communications and Affordability. Measured contests are those that use precise measuring tools to determine scores, like a thermometer. The measured contests include Comfort Zone, Appliances, Home Life, Commuting and Energy Balances. Each contest is worth a maximum of 100 points, for a competition total of 1,000 points. The winning team receives a trophy and the honor of victory.

Visit Us

The next Solar Decathlon will take place Oct. 8–18, 2015, at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California.

The Solar Decathlon competition houses will be open to visitors from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily on eight days over two weekends:

Thursday, Oct. 8–Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015

Thursday, Oct. 15–Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015

Open to the public free of charge, the Solar Decathlon gives visitors the opportunity to tour solar-powered houses, gather ideas to use in their own homes, and learn how energy-saving features can help them save money today.


For more information of Orange County Great Park, visit


Project exposure infographicAs a two year competition, the Solar Decathlon gets a large amount of media coverage, both directly from news articles and indirectly from social media postings. Here are some statistics that illustrate the scope of the project:

2013 Event in Irvine, California

  1. Visitors: More than 65,000 people over 8 days
  2. House tours: More than 300,000 conducted by the student decathletes
  3. Exhibit booth visitors: More than 10,000
  4. School programs: More than 3,000 middle-school and high-school students and teachers
  5. Sponsors: More than 30 companies supported the event with donations and outreach
  6. Volunteers: 1,200 donated 7,700 hours during 1,300 shifts
  7. Workshops: 1,140 people participated in 33 workshop presentations

Worldwide Media Coverage

  1. Total media impressions: 2.04 billion (including multipliers for print)
  2. Total media stories: More than 2,400
  3. Online articles: More than 1,750
  4. Print articles: More than 350 in 150 publications
  5. Broadcast: At least 200 television stories and 150 radio interviews
  6. Media attendance: Nearly 225 media checked in onsite

Competing Teams in 2015

Competing teams are from all over the globeThe teams for Solar Decathlon 2015 come from over 30 different schools – representing a diverse selection of top universities from around the world. In alphabetical order, the for 14 teams are:

  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • California State University, Sacramento
  • Clemson University
  • Crowder College and Drury University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • New York City College of Technology
  • State University of New York at Alfred College of Technology and Alfred University
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • The University of Texas at Austin and Technische Universitaet Muenchen
  • University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Irvine; Chapman University; Irvine Valley College; and Saddleback College
  • West Virginia University and University of Roma Tor Vergata
  • Western New England University, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, and Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana

Find out more about these teams at