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Illinois Solar Decathlon (Ongoing)


Who We Are

Illinois Solar Decathlon is an interdisciplinary registered student organization with over 60 undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We compete in the international, Department of Energy-sponsored Solar Decathlon Build and Solar Decathlon Design competitions. Illinois Solar Decathlon is comprised of an executive board, a build competition team, a design competition team, and a concept team, which fosters skills and knowledge development for younger organization members.

The Build and Design Challenge teams participate in the Solar Decathlon competetion held by the United States Depratment of Energy.

Our Mission

Illinois Solar Decathlon seeks to lead innovation in design and technology to advance towards an environmentally sustainable future. We bridge the legacy of past Illinois competition projects to the development of future successful teams. For our existing homes, we ensure their continual usage as a research and outreach platform. On campus, we engage in projects and foster relationships to educate and develop our organization. Through our integrated approach, we aim to elevate the standard of Solar Decathlon and ensure a true contribution to green building.


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon® is a collegiate competition, comprising 10 Contests, that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy.

Competition events are in April at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, and in June at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.

The Solar Decathlon provides unique, hands-on experience and training that prepares competing students to enter the clean energy workforce. The competition creates awareness for the visiting public about more efficient technologies for homes and buildings. Technologies and solutions used in Solar Decathlon projects have advanced the building industry both in the United States and abroad.

The Contests for the Solar Decathlon 2019–2020 are:
• Energy Performance
• Engineering
• Financial Feasibility & Affordability
• Resilience
• Architecture
• Operations
• Market Potential
• Comfort & Environmental Quality
• Innovation
• Presentation.


Our history begins in 2007, when we first took part in the Solar Decathlon Build competition, a challenge open to teams from universities from around the world where students design and build full size solar powered homes with support from professional sponsors. Since our impetus, we have built a total of five homes, one of which achieved second place, and competed in several U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Design Challenges (formerly known as Race-to-Zero). We are currently in the second and final year of the 2020 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Build Challenge.

The houses built by the UIUC teams in the past were featured at the Center for Green Technology in Chicago, on the Weather Channel, at the GreenBuild Expo in Chicago, and on various news outlets. The University team has shown a commitment to education of the public about how solar power and sustainable design are feasible and attractive options.

The Student Sustainability Committee funded the project in 2007 and 2009. The 2009 house won second place overall, but both houses earned top honors for specific categories. The University of Illinois is the only school to be invited to each of the past three Solar Decathlon international events hosted in the United States, taking home 2nd (2009), 7th (2011) and 9th (2007) place, in those biennial competitions, respectively.

The University of Illinois teams have been finalists each year in the annually held Design Challenge (formerly known as Race-to-Zero). Team LINKoln won 2nd place in the Small Multifamily Housing category at the Race-to-Zero 2016 competetion.

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Project Team

  • Project Leader:

    Shashikiran Duraisamy and Mayur Mistry

    Prior Contacts:

    • Jonah Messinger


Project Location(s)

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