The U.S. Department of Energy announced the 16 collegiate teams selected to participate in the DOE Solar Decathlon 2017 competition. For the first time in the competition’s history, the Solar Decathlon 2017 teams will be competing for $2 million in prize money.

The teams, from colleges and universities across the United States and around the world, will now begin the nearly two-year process of building solar-powered houses that are affordable, innovative and highly energy-efficient. The teams include eight returning teams and eight new teams:

• École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Lausanne, Switzerland)
• Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Daytona State College (Daytona Beach, Fla.)
• Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta)
• HU University of Applied Science Utrecht (Utrecht, Netherlands)
• Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, Mo.)
• Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.)
• Rice University (Houston)
• Syracuse University (Syracuse, N.Y.)
• University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham, Ala.)
• University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley, Calif.)
• University of California, Davis (Davis, Calif.)
• University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
• University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas)
• Washington State University (Pullman, Wash.)
• Washington University (St. Louis)
• West Virginia University (Morgantown, W.Va.)

“President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy aims to create a safer and more sustainable planet, while ensuring American students and workers have the skills they need for the challenging jobs of today and tomorrow,” said DOE’s Solar Decathlon Director Richard King. “The Solar Decathlon competition supports the department’s commitment to improving the nation’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education efforts, and to building a more knowledge-intensive workforce.”

Over the coming months, the 16 Solar Decathlon teams will design, construct and test their houses before reassembling them at the Solar Decathlon 2017 competition site, which will be announced soon. As part of the Solar Decathlon, teams compete in 10 different contests — ranging from architecture and engineering to home appliance performance — while gaining valuable hands-on experience in clean energy design. The winner of the competition will be the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

In mid-2017, the student teams will showcase their solar-powered houses at the competition site to the public, providing free tours of renewable energy systems and energy-efficient technologies, products and appliances that today are helping homeowners nationwide save money by saving energy. The solar-powered houses will represent a diverse range of design approaches; building technologies; target markets; and geographic locations, climates and regions, including urban, suburban and rural settings.