DOE Presents Solar District Cup Class of 2022–2023 Winners

May 3, 2023 by TWN Staff
DOE Presents Solar District Cup Class of 2022–2023 Winners
U.S. Department of Energy Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition trophies for the Class of 2022-2023. (Photo by Werner Slocum, NREL)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy announced the division winners and Project Pitch Champion in the Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition’s Class of 2022-2023 during a live event held at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on Monday.

According to a press release from the DOE, “The Solar District Cup challenges student teams to design and model solar-plus-storage systems to meet the energy needs and decarbonization goals of campus, tribal, and urban mixed-use districts. 

“Throughout the competition, cross-disciplinary students design proposals that reimagine how electric energy is generated, managed, and used in these various environments, while gaining industry experience and connections.”

A total of 14 student-led teams won first-, second-, or third-place trophies across five divisions, with the addition of one honorable mention and one Project Pitch Champion.

The projects were presented on April 30 to a panel of industry judges and division peers, according to a release from NREL. The five first-place teams were then invited to pitch their concepts to a public audience that afternoon. An audience voted on the most promising solar proposal to become this year’s Project Pitch Champion.

For the Class of 2022–2023 edition of the competition, the district use cases for which students designed solar-plus-storage solutions were Florida A&M University, Lake Nona Town Center, the Lummi Tribal Nation, North Carolina State University, and, in a new division this year, campus districts that students defined themselves.

“The competition is designed to inspire students to consider new career opportunities, learn industry-relevant skills, engage with the professional marketplace, and prepare to lead the next generation of distributed solar energy,” according to NREL.

Geraldine Richmond, undersecretary for science and innovation at the U.S. Department of Energy, said in remarks to the student competitors, “You now have hands-on experience with the grid issues and solutions you can expect to see in a career in this dynamic field. I hope the experience you’ve gained helps you envision ways you can contribute to a sustainable energy future. The solutions you’ve proposed show the kind of talent and knowledge necessary to help bring about the clean energy transition.”

The winners are:

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Division 

  • First Place: Northeastern University (Boston, MA) 
  • Second Place: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, FL) 
  • Third Place: Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA) 

Lake Nona Town Center Division 

  • First Place: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Urbana, Illinois)
  • Second Place: Texas A&M University (College Station, Texas) 
  • Third Place: North Carolina State (Raleigh, North Carolina) 
  • Honorable Mention: Boise State University (Boise, Idaho) 

Lummi Tribal Nation Division 

  • First Place: Boise State University (Boise, Idaho) 
  • Second Place: Macalester College (Saint Paul, Minnesota) 
  • Third Place: West Texas A&M University (Canyon, Texas) 

North Carolina State University Division 

  • First Place: Northeastern University (Boston, Massachusetts) 
  • Second Place: Illinois State University (Normal, Illinois) 
  • Third Place: Carnegie Mellon (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) 

 Bring Your Own District Division 

  • First Place: The University of Minnesota Twin Cities & Duluth campuses (Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota)
  • Second Place: Iowa State University of Science and Technology (Ames, Iowa)

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