Announcing Participating Schools in Solar District Cup Class of 2023–2024

Solar-Plus-Storage Collegiate Design Competition Hits Five-Year Milestone in Fostering Solar Workforce Development, Innovation

Oct. 3, 2023 | By Sara Fall | Contact media relations

Four people looking at a computer with U.S. Department of Energy Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition Design. Model. Compete. text overlay.

In a bid to address the ever-evolving needs of the energy industry and bolster the clean energy workforce, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office proudly shares the colleges and universities participating in the Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition (Solar District Cup) Class of 2023–2024. This innovative competition challenges students to design and model solar-plus-storage systems for real mixed-use districts.

This year marks a milestone for the competition—this class of participants will be the fifth participating class. The Solar District Cup continues to develop and draw bright minds from across the nation, with 56 student teams representing 51 collegiate institutions participating in the new Class of 2023–2024 so far. More teams will join the competition on a condensed timeline in January.

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 the distributed solar energy space.

According to the United States Energy and Employment Report 2023, clean energy jobs increased in every state and grew 3.9% nationally in the previous year, outpacing growth in energy jobs overall. Solar had the largest number of jobs gained, adding 12,256 workers.

"The students of today are the future renewable energy workforce," said Becca Jones-Albertus, the DOE's acting deputy assistant secretary for renewable energy. "The teams in the Solar District Cup Class of 2024 are pushing themselves and getting to see what it takes to be a leader in renewable energy industries. It's inspiring to think about how much they'll learn over the course of the competition. I'm looking forward to seeing what innovative ideas they pursue!"

Like last year's competition, teams will compete in one of five divisions: Three divisions have an assigned district, one division is for teams who want to define their own district use cases, and the final division is for teams who will begin the competition in a condensed version of the program that starts in January.

For those teams choosing to have a district assigned, all relevant data is provided by the competition organizers. Other teams have chosen the "bring-your-own-district" option to design for their own college campus or another district. But all teams have the opportunity to reimagine how energy is generated and managed within their districts.

The three assigned district use cases for students starting this fall are California State University, Northridge; Miami University of Ohio; and The University of Texas at Dallas.

The schools participating with student teams in the Solar District Cup Class of 2023–2024 include:

  • Alfred University
  • Appalachian State University
  • Arizona State University
  • Baylor University
  • Boise State University
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • California State University, Long Beach
  • Columbia University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Drexel University
  • Florida A&M University
  • Georgia College & State University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Kankakee Community College
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • Macalester College
  • Maine Maritime Academy
  • Manhattan College
  • Miami University, Oxford
  • Navajo Technical University
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Northeastern University
  • Portland State University
  • Saint Louis University
  • Santa Clara University
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Texas Tech University
  • The City College of New York
  • The George Washington University
  • The Ohio State University
  • The Pennsylvania State University
  • The State University of New York at Morrisville
  • The University of Alabama
  • The University of Texas at Dallas
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Houston
  • University of Minnesota Duluth
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Utah
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Villanova University
  • West Texas A&M University
  • Youngstown State University

"We are honored to have so many returning schools again this year," said Sara Farrar, competition organizer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. "This competition has become part of many schools' regular curriculum or extra-curricular club activities. We're also thrilled to see 15 new schools join the Solar District Cup so far and looking forward to seeing who joins the competition for the one-semester division that opens for registration this December."

Throughout the competition, students are provided training and tools by partnering organizations, including Aurora and RE+ Events. Their support is critical to student success in the competition and beyond as the students continue their education and enter the renewable energy workforce.

Teams will now begin to work on their designs before reaching their first milestone in the competition, the submission of their Progress Deliverable Packages in November.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Solar District Cup as a partner, industry mentor, or judge, contact the Solar District Cup organizers. You can also follow the Class of 2023–2024 as they advance through the competition.

Tags: Solar Market Research