It is a competition between twenty teams of college students hosted by the US Department of Energy in October of 2009. The goal was to build the best solar-powered house (hence the name) in terms of energy efficiency, effectiveness, and attractiveness of the building. The teams had to design and then actually build the house (including getting money and supplies and working with contractors), transport (disassemble and reassemble) it to the National Mall in the capital, where they are publicly displayed and judged. You can find more information on the official website in citations.
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends cost-effectiveness, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.
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