At an event in Albuquerque, N.M., U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu announced the 20 collegiate teams selected to compete in the Solar Decathlon 2013 and unveiled the competition’s location: Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif.

The 20 teams from colleges and universities from around the world now begin a two-year process to build solar-powered, highly energy-efficient homes that combine affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence. Throughout the two-year process, the teams will design, construct and test their homes before reassembling them at the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition site.

As part of the Solar Decathlon, teams compete in 10 different categories—ranging from best architecture and engineering to energy production for heating and cooling—while gaining real-world experience in a growing global industry.

“The Solar Decathlon will unleash the ingenuity, creativity and drive from these talented students to demonstrate new ideas for how families and businesses can reduce energy use and save money with clean-energy products and efficient building design,” Chu said.

In fall 2013, the student teams will showcase their solar-powered houses at the Orange County Great Park, highlighting renewable-energy systems and energy-efficient technologies, products and appliances that are currently available. The selected teams and their proposed projects represent a diverse range of design approaches, building technologies, target markets, geographic locations, climates and regions, including urban, suburban and rural settings.

Since 2002, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., has hosted five Solar Decathlons. For 2013, Solar Decathlon organizers decided to extend the competition’s reach beyond Washington and showcase energy efficiency and renewable-energy technologies to a new group of visitors and sponsors.