The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it is considering offers for a new site for Solar Decathlon 2013. Past Solar Decathlons have been held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The Solar Decathlon is a competition that challenges college students from around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, highly energy efficient, attractive and easy to live in. In an effort to expand the excitement generated by the competition and encourage participation from new communities, the DOE is inviting venues across the nation to compete for the opportunity to host this event.

“The Solar Decathlon challenges the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to become pioneers of clean-energy technology and efficient building design,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “This is a great opportunity for these talented students to showcase cutting-edge technologies that will change the way we build homes and save families money.”

The Solar Decathlon provides participating students with unique training to enter the clean energy work force. As part of the Obama administration’s larger goal to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and maintain a highly skilled and knowledgeable work force, the DOE creates and supports initiatives that engage students to learn about energy technologies and issues. The Solar Decathlon is one such program designed to educate and train students who will build their careers in the clean-energy sector. Moreover, the competition and public demonstration have successfully showcased energy-efficient housing and clean-energy technologies.

This year’s competition, the fifth since 2002, will take place on the National Mall, Sept. 23–Oct. 2. It is open to the public and free of charge. For more information, visit www.SolarDecathlon.gov.