Mines Campus Solar Challenge

Put your imagination, passion and knowledge to use creating a solar idea with the potential to be installed on campus! Up to three winners will be chosen during Earth Week to win a prize up to $500. Individual and group submissions are welcome.

Campus Solar Challenge Rules

Submissions to the Campus Solar Challenge must meet all standards defined in the Design Challenge Rules below, both for consideration as a finalist and to qualify for any available prize. Submission first drafts deadline extended to March 6th.

Furthermore, submissions no longer need to incorporate SunPower X21-355-BLK or X21-345 panels.

See below for complete submission guidelines:

General Submission Guidelines
  1. All submissions, in any format, must be provided in the English language to avoid misinterpretation.
  2. Consideration for any prize requires that a proposal is first submitted before March 6th, 2020. Any submissions received after the deadline will not be considered.
  3. All submissions are limited to text and/or files in the following formats: 
    • Portable Document Format (.pdf)
    • Images (.gif, .jpg, .png, etc.)

Any current Mines undergraduate or graduate student (even if studying abroad) is eligible. Staff and faculty are welcome to submit, however, they are exempt from any prize money.

Judging Criteria

The following criteria and rubric will be used by judging delegates to evaluate Phase 1 product submissions (provided Section A requirements are met):

  1. Positive Impact and Differentiation (5 Possible Points) – How well does the submission advance visibility and use of renewable energy on campus?
  2. Economic Viability (5 Possible Points) – Is the specified bill of materials (BOM), design and manufacturing process, and energy output practical over product life?
  3. Technical Feasibility (5 Possible Points) – Does the proposed project make use of appropriate solar panels: panels with low/no-maintenance materials and features with reasonable life-expectancy?  Is it achievable without the use of overly exotic, esoteric, or impractical engineering methods?
  4. Production Differentiation (5 Possible Points) Does the submission exhibit innovative features, above and beyond sustainability awareness, and/or integrate into existing campus features?
  5. Completeness (5 Possible Points) – Does the submission incorporate all project specifications set forth in section C?

Overall: A maximum of 125 total points can be awarded to any given submission provided that each of the five judging delegates (NREL, McKinstry, Mines Faculty, Mines Facilities Management, Mines Green Team) evaluates it as a 25-point solution. First, Second and Third-Place winners will be announced April 15th and may be given the opportunity to further develop and implement their design on campus.

March 6th Draft Submission Details and Requirements

Draft submission elements:

  1. Function on campus
  2. Proposed/projected energy output
  3. Energy storage concept
  4. Rough cost estimate
  5. Team member information

Note: Constraint of SunPower X21-355-BLK panels has been eliminated. Submissions no longer require that specific panel.

Contact Us with questions or for more information.

April 6th Final Submission Details and Requirements

Final Concept paper/proposal must include the following elements:

  1. Function on campus
  2. Graphic of draft design
  3. Proposed/projected energy output
  4. Energy storage concept
  5. Rough budget
    • If using the SunPower panels, assume the required panel costs $0.25/watt. All other solar panels/tech should be incorporated at full product cost.
    • Itemized for main system components
    • Installation and misc. category should also be included
  6. Basic research and justification of design
  7. Proposed campus location
  8. Team member information

Note: Constraint of SunPower X21-355-BLK panels has been eliminated. Submissions no longer require that specific panel.

Contact Us with questions or for more information.


Industry experts and peers from NREL, McKinstry, Mines Faculty, Mines Facilities Management and Mines Green Team will award Campus Solar Challenge winners based on the rubric outlined above. Each organization will have a maximum of 25 points to award each design, resulting in 175 total possible points.