Solar District Cup Unveils Class of 2021–2022 Student Participants

In Its Third Year, the Competition Will Challenge Students To Design and Model Distributed Energy Systems for a Campus or Urban District

Sept. 29, 2021

The infrastructure that defines the U.S. electric grid is based largely on pre-digital technologies and is now faced with increasingly difficult load and power quality demands. New tools are required to create a flexible and modern electric grid, and the next generation of renewable energy professionals are here to help.

U.S. Department of Energy Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition - Class of 2020-2021

Students from across the country will compete in the Class of 2021–2022 Solar District Cup competition, where they will design and model optimized distributed energy systems for an assigned campus or urban district.

In the third year of the program, 65 student-led teams from 64 collegiate institutions will participate in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition Class of 2021-2022, developing solutions around the renewable energy needs of campuses or urban districts.

The Solar District Cup challenges multidisciplinary student teams to design and model distributed energy systems that integrate solar, storage, and other technologies across mixed-use districts.

“As we work to achieve aggressive climate goals over the next few years, the need for creative energy solutions and a dedicated, passionate workforce is greater than ever,” said Garrett Nilsen, acting director of the Energy Department’s Solar Energy Technologies Office. “The work these students are doing through the Solar District Cup is so valuable in preparing them for careers in the energy industry and beyond. I’m excited to see the designs that come out of this cohort of participants.”

Throughout the competition, student teams are challenged to design, model, and present the most innovative and cost-effective system possible. Teams compete in one of three divisions, each of which is structured around a specific district. A winner is selected for each division based on the quality of their solar energy system design.

Each team is assigned to a district use case around which it will base its energy system design. Data on each district is provided to teams, allowing students to reimagine how energy is generated, managed, and used within their district.

The three district use cases for the 2021–2022 program are Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and The Ohio State University.

The collegiate institutions participating in the Solar District Cup Class of 2021-2022 include:

  • Alfred University
  • Ana G. Méndez University, Gurabo Campus
  • Appalachian State University
  • Arizona State University
  • Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology
  • Bergen Community College
  • Boise State University
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Clark Atlanta University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Creighton University
  • Drexel University
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Grambling State University
  • Illinois State University
  • Miami University
  • Michigan State University
  • Morehouse College
  • NC State University
  • New York University
  • Northeast Lakeview College
  • Norwich University
  • Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College
  • Ohio Northern University
  • Oregon State University-Cascades
  • Pittsburg State University
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
  • San Antonio College
  • San Jacinto College South
  • Santa Clara University
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Spelman College
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Stony Brook University
  • Tennessee State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Southern University
  • Texas Tech University
  • The George Washington University
  • The Ohio State University
  • The University of Alabama
  • The University of Arizona
  • The University of Memphis
  • The University of Minnesota Duluth
  • The University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Triton College
  • Tuskegee University
  • University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Denver
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Portland
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Vanderbilt University

“In our third year of the program, we are thrilled to see several collegiate institutions returning to the competition, while also seeing a high number of new schools joining for the first time,” said Joe Simon, Solar District Cup organizer.

The Solar District Cup is designed to inspire students to consider new career opportunities, learn industry-relevant skills, engage with the professional marketplace, and prepare to become leaders in distributed solar energy. The program encourages collaboration between academia and industry.

Throughout the competition, students are provided with resources and tools by partnering organizations, including Aurora Solar Inc., Energy Toolbase, HeatSpring LLC, and Solar Power Events. These partners provide benefits including access to design software, online educational courses, and networking opportunities with industry professionals. Their support is critical to student success in the competition as well as continuing their education and entering the renewable energy workforce.

Between October and November 2021, teams will work on their designs before reaching their first milestone, the submission of their Progress Deliverable Packages. Finalist teams moving on in the competition will be announced in December.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Solar District Cup as a partner or industry mentor, contact the Solar District Cup organizers. You can also follow the Class of 2021–2022 as they advance through the competition.

Learn more about the Solar District Cup.