What is Solar Decathlon?

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are energy-efficient, affordable and attractive.

UNLV has participated in two prior competitions, in 2013 and 2017, and was one of just 11 universities worldwide chosen to compete in the 2020 event.

Solar Decathlon 2020

An interdisciplinary team of students and faculty from architecture, engineering, business, urban affairs, and communications will design, construct and then test their home, Desert Bloom, over the next 18 months. The concept for the 400- to 600-square-foot smart solar home is a place of healing and respite for military veterans suffering the adverse effects of wartime trauma.

The final competition will take place in July 2020 when the homes will be transported and reassembled on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Solar Decathlon 2017

UNLV was one of 17 university teams selected to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy 2017 Solar Decathlon. The team took first place for Innovation and second place for both Engineering and Architecture with their Sinatra Living home. Overall, the team placed eighth out of a total of 11 national and international teams who competed.

UNLV’s team chose to create an aging-in-place home, combining accessibility and interior comfort with wireless integrated technology. The design served as a smart-home that helped older adults and those with disabilities move safely in their home and communicate with family and social services, enabling them to remain in their homes and prevent transfer to an institutionalized care facility.

Solar Decathlon 2013

UNLV’s 2013 entry, DesertSol, took first place among U.S. teams, and second place overall in that year’s competition. It was designed to be responsive to the climate of the Mojave Desert and focused on creating indoor-outdoor connections that would allow residents to enjoy the beauty of its unique environment.

DesertSol is currently on permanent exhibit at the Springs Preserve.