Competitions, Challenges, and Industry Prizes
Join a competition to expand your knowledge and share your skills in the development and commercialization of advanced energy technologies. Competitions, prizes, and similar contests support the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs.
Learn more about the events administered by NREL on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Middle School Car Competition
NREL's model car competition is a classroom-based, hands-on educational program for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students. Student teams apply math, science, and creativity to construct and race solar- and battery-powered model cars.
High School Science Bowl
NREL sponsors the annual Colorado Regional High School Science Bowl, in which teams are quizzed on math and science topics. The winning team receives an opportunity to compete for the national title in Washington, D.C.
These competitions provide hands-on learning for future scientists and researchers that complements coursework and curriculum at collegiate institutions worldwide. They provide opportunities for students to use their creativity, passion, and skills to address real-world issues.
The Collegiate Wind Competition challenges interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate students to offer unique solutions to a complex wind energy project using two multifaceted elements: (1) design, build, and test a wind turbine and (2) plan and financially analyze a wind plant.
This DOE competition challenges college students to protect imagined businesses from simulated cyberattacks. Using critical-infrastructure-focused, real-world scenarios, the competition helps participants improve their understanding of cyber-physical threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences.
The Geothermal Collegiate Competition engages students to develop innovative geothermal energy applications and gain real-world career skills as they prepare to enter the clean energy workforce. The challenge fosters understanding of geothermal energy, communicates the benefits of geothermal technologies, and helps overcome nontechnical barriers to geothermal development.
JUMP (Join the discussion, Unveil innovation, Make connections, Promote tech-to-market) into STEM is an online building science competition for undergraduate and graduate students across a variety of majors at U.S. colleges and universities. This initiative was launched to advance skills, encourage diversity, and promote early-stage research in building energy efficiency.
This competition challenges students across the U.S. to develop novel, market-ready, cutting-edge marine energy technologies and solutions to address some of the most pressing challenges in the expanding blue economy. Participants develop hands-on skills that set them apart from other graduates in the field.
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® is a collegiate competition that challenges multidisciplinary student teams to design and build high-performance, low-carbon buildings. Since 2002, the Solar Decathlon community has grown to more than 25,000 alumni globally. Nurturing tomorrow’s leaders, Solar Decathlon offers collegiate institutions two tracks to participate: an annual Design Challenge and a biennial Build Challenge.
The Solar District Cup challenges multidisciplinary student teams to design and model optimized distributed solar energy systems for a campus or urban district. The competition engages students across the engineering, urban planning, and finance disciplines to reimagine how energy is generated, managed, and used in a district.
The American-Made Challenges incentivize the nation's entrepreneurs to reassert American leadership in the energy marketplace. These challenges seek to lower the barriers U.S.-based innovators face in reaching manufacturing scale by accelerating the cycles of learning from years to weeks. They create partnerships that connect entrepreneurs to the private sector and the network of DOE national laboratories across the nation.