Solar Design Contest

Solar Design Contest
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Solar Design Contest

Between fall of 2019 and the summer of 2020, the SiDi Lab organized the first design contest at the University of Arkansas campus on the topic of solar energy systems design. The motivation was to prepare next-generation engineers to be skillful system designers and system thinkers. The contest relied on a computer-aided design (CAD) based framework to cultivate knowledge in the field of solar energy and the capability of synthesizing knowledge from different disciplines. Contestants were asked to engage in an authentic solar energy systems design for an on-campus architecture — Pomfret Hall on Stadium Drive. The goal of the challenge was to provide an energy efficient, and low cost solar energy based solution to help solarize the University's campus. The contest was a success, with almost fifty contestants and over $1,000 in prize money awarded.

In the spring of 2021, the SiDi Lab will host another round of the Solar Design Contest. The new challenge will be hosted in a similar fashion, and conducted in the same computer-aided design environment. Not only will contestants be challenged with a different solar energy design problem, but they will try their hand at designing solutions for student housing as well.

The Solar Design Contest will be hosted entirely online, with no in-person interaction required. Contestants will be given five full days to solve the design problem, though five full days of your time will not be expected. No previous computer-aided design experience is required.

Additional details will be provided upon sign up.

Registration is now open! To sign up, either click here and enter your information, or feel free to email us at

Pending sufficient recruitment, the challenge is planned to begin during the week of March 1-5; the exact date and time is TBD, and you will be told upon sign up. We hope to see you there!


John Z Clay,
Department of Mechanical Engineering


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