residential home with solar panels on the roof

Creating Tomorrow's Solar Energy Champions

Educational activities to teach—and inspire—students of all ages

As a parent, teacher, or solar energy fan, you can help ensure our brightest solar future by nurturing tomorrow’s solar innovators, today. There are many educational activities and competitions that can help younger students learn about solar energy, and help high school and college students prepare for solar careers. Check out our ideas below for fun ways to help inspire and train the next generation of solar energy champions and pioneers!

Solar competitions for college and high school teams

These team-based programs encourage high school and college students to plan, design, build, and operate solar-powered homes, cars, or boats. All of these programs seek donations and sponsorships.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, coming to Denver in October 2017, is a life-changing competition that challenges teams of college students to design and build full-size, solar-powered houses. The event highlights today’s most exciting and innovative clean energy technologies while building the next generation of American clean energy innovators. The students who conceive, design, and build these homes are our future engineers, architects, and entrepreneurs, who will lead us into a sustainable future. Companies, organizations, and individuals are invited to sponsor Solar Decathlon 2017.
  • Love cars? There are two solar car competitions that are open to college teams from around the world. The American Solar Challenge (ASC) is a cross-country endurance rally across North America that is held every other year. The Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) is an annual track race that is held on grand prix or road style closed courses. Both races will next take place in 2018! Companies, organizations, and individuals are invited to sponsor ASC and/or FSGP.
  • The Solar Car Challenge is the only solar-powered race for high school students in the world. It teaches student teams from the United States and beyond how to plan, design, engineer, build, and race roadworthy solar cars. Companies, foundations, and individuals are invited to sponsor the Solar Car Challenge.
  • Solar Splash is an annual event sponsored by IEEE's Power Electronics Society. Students studying mechanical or electrical engineering team up to create a solar-powered boat and use it in competitive events with other students from around the world. Solar Splash is accepting entries for the 2018 competition. Companies, organizations, and individuals are invited to sponsor Solar Splash

Projects, tools, and curricula for parents and K-12 educators

Parents and educators can access fun activities and helpful resources—including sample curricula and science fair topics—to teach K-12 students about energy.

Solar education for adults

If you would like to learn more about solar energy and purchasing solar power, try these resources.

What's your favorite solar learning activity?

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