The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition announced today that 45 teams from 39 schools are advancing as finalists in the Class of 2022–2023. Competitors are designing distributed energy solar-plus-storage solutions for a real-world district or campus, giving them practice with industry tools and procedures that can make a significant impact as they prepare for careers in the renewable energy industry.
Across the entire competition, teams are competing in one of five divisions as they ramp up for the final event that runs April 30–May 1, 2023.
To attain a fully decarbonized electricity system by 2035, the U.S. solar industry needs to add hundreds of thousands of new workers, according to DOE's Solar Energy Technologies Office. The Solar District Cup seeks to inspire a new generation of students to enter that workforce.
As in previous years, competitors are encouraged to create multidisciplinary teams to design systems that meet the energy, aesthetic, and financing needs of a particular use case. These systems integrate solar and storage technologies across mixed-use districts, or groups of buildings served by a common electrical distribution feeder. The competition engages students in engineering, finance, urban planning, sustainability, and other degree programs to reimagine how electric energy is generated, managed, and used in a district.
"In order to achieve our nation's renewable energy workforce goals, we need to set up students for success as they explore how they can contribute to—and benefit from—this diverse industry," said Becca Jones-Albertus, director of DOE's Solar Energy Technologies Office. "The finalist teams in the Solar District Cup are challenging themselves and showing what it takes to be a leader in this field. It's inspiring to think about how much they learn over the course of the competition, and this talented cohort is just getting started. I'm looking forward to seeing what they present in the spring!"