Participating Teams Revealed for Full-Year Solar District Cup Class of 2022–2023

Now in Its Fourth Year, This Collegiate Design Competition Is Hitting Its Stride With Expanded Registration and District Options

Oct. 11, 2022 | By Jackie Petre | Contact media relations

An image of five students working together with solar panels in the background and a colorful logo in the foreground and overlaid with text that says “U.S. Department of Energy Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition. Design. Model. Compete.

As part of continuing efforts to address energy industry workforce needs, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-sponsored Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition empowers students to embrace the challenge and bring their most innovative solutions to real-world applications.

In the fourth year of the program, 57 student-led teams from 52 collegiate institutions are participating in the Solar District Cup Class of 2022–2023, spending a full academic year developing design solutions to meet the renewable energy goals of campuses or other districts.

The collegiate competition challenges multidisciplinary student teams to design and model distributed energy systems that integrate solar photovoltaics and battery energy storage systems across mixed-use districts. The goal is to maximize both electric energy offset and financial savings for their districts.

"Meeting U.S. climate goals poses a set of challenges that require innovative solutions and cross-disciplinary cooperation, which is what this competition calls for," said Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. "The Solar District Cup is a perfect opportunity for students to tackle a real-world problem while they’re meeting industry professionals and preparing to enter a growing clean energy workforce."

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.

Teams compete in one of five divisions this year: Three divisions have assigned an urban or campus district, as has been the structure for past years of the Solar District Cup. New this year is a division for teams who want to define their own district use case, as well as a division for teams who will begin the competition in a condensed version of the program that starts in January.

Teams participating in the new bring-your-own-district division can make an impact in a place they care about, like their own campus or city, as they design a distributed solar energy system.

For those teams choosing to have a district assigned, all relevant data is provided by the competition organizers, but all teams have the opportunity to reimagine how energy is generated, managed, and used within their district.

The three assigned district use cases for the Class of 2022–2023 are Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Lake Nona Town Center in Orange County, Florida, and North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus.

The collegiate institutions participating in the Solar District Cup Class of 2022–2023 include:

  • Alfred State College of Technology
  • Alfred University
  • Appalachian State University
  • Arizona State University
  • Boise State University
  • Boston University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Clark Atlanta University
  • College of the Muscogee Nation
  • Cornell University
  • Drexel University
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Hampshire College
  • Harris-Stowe State University
  • Illinois State University
  • Indian Hills Community College
  • Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Iowa State University of Science and Technology
  • Lehigh University
  • Manhattan College
  • Miami University
  • Michigan State University
  • Monterey Peninsula College
  • North Carolina State University
  • New Mexico State University
  • Northeastern University
  • New York University
  • Penn State Hazleton
  • Saint Louis University
  • San Antonio College
  • Temple University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Tech University
  • The George Washington University
  • The Ohio State University
  • The University of Arizona
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • The University of New Hampshire
  • University of Minnesota Duluth
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of Houston
  • University of Maryland Eastern Shore
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin-Platteville
  • Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • West Texas A&M University

"We continue to see schools choosing to come back to the Solar District Cup program," said Sara Farrar, competition organizer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. "Just over half of our teams this year are from schools who participated in at least one previous year, while many are new to the Solar District Cup. And we expect to see even more schools participate in our new single-semester option this spring."

The program encourages collaboration between academia and industry, giving students an inside look at the tools they would likely use to design, model, and propose solar systems in the field.

Throughout the competition, students are provided resources by partnering organizations, including Aurora Solar Inc., Energy Toolbase, and RE+ Events. These partners provide benefits including access to design software, live "office hours" sessions, and networking opportunities with industry professionals. Their support is critical to student success in the competition and beyond as they continue their education and enter the renewable energy workforce.

Next, teams participating in the full-academic-year competition will work on their designs before reaching their first milestone, the submission of their Progress Deliverable Packages. Finalist teams moving on in the full-year competition will be announced in January along with a whole new group of participating teams for the single-semester version of the competition.

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 2022–2023 as they advance through the competition.

Learn more about the Solar District Cup.

Tags: Solar,Energy Storage