The Solar District Cup challenges multidisciplinary student teams to design and model optimized distributed energy systems for a campus or urban district. These systems integrate solar, storage, and other technologies across mixed-use districts, which are groups of buildings served by a common electrical distribution feeder. The competition engages students in the engineering, urban planning, finance, and related disciplines to reimagine how energy is generated, managed, and used in a district.
The goal is to design, model, and present the most innovative and cost-effective system possible. Teams compete in one of multiple divisions, each of which is structured around a specific district. A winner is selected for each division based on the quality of their solar energy system design. The strongest designs provide the highest offset of annual energy and greatest financial savings, which is determined by a techno-economic analysis that the students conduct and judges evaluate.