2023 Solar District Cup

The InSPIRE Solar Cup team -consisting of three students- took part in the Solar District Cup 2022-23 competition and won a trophy for being 1st place in our division. Since there were five divisions, we essentially got into the top 5 out of 57 student teams, but not 1st place.

The Solar District Cup is an annual online competition which challenges college level student teams from across the US to act as solar developers in the development of a hypothetical solar proposal for a real-world site (i.e. a district). We were assigned the Lake Nona Town Center District. 

" The team from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign demonstrated a deep understanding of the district’s aesthetic philosophy to produce an insightful PV solution. They performed a thoughtful risk assessment and impressed the judges with their technical mastery of systems engineering solutions. " ~ Solar Cup Judges

Solar Powered Outdoors Table (SPOT)

The SPOT project is a completely student designed and implemented outdoors table retrofitted with solar panels used to charge an off-grid solar energy system. It is a place that provides students in UIUC a space to sit and study outside while charging their devices (cellphones, tablets, laptops etc.) using solar energy. It also better promote solar energy by allowing students to interact with the energy produced by solar panels they can clearly see in-front of them. Lastly, there is a QR code on the SPOT which will direct students and RSOs to a website detailing the design and construction plans for the project. This allows students and other RSOs to replicate the project -or parts of it- in their own endeavors. The website will also include instructions to create a simple off-grid solar energy system that can be integrated to other student projects.

Special thanks to 

2021 Solar District Cup

In 2020-2021, we participated in a solar design competition sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The goal was to create a plan for a massive PV network in a neighborhood in southeast Denver. We selected specific hardware, evaluated the best panel locations, worked out how to finance the project, projected the returns, and drafted a construction timeline, ensuring that the system was up to code. Ultimately, we presented this plan to NREL and made it to the 3rd round of 4 before being eliminated.

Mini Off-Grid PV System

A mini off-grid PV system that acted as a prototype for the SPOT Solar PV System and was finished in the 2017-2018 school year. It can charge small devices like cell-phones and has basic safety mechanisms. It was showcased in both the 2018 and 2019 Engineering Open House.

Net-zero Home Model

A simple model of a net-zero energy home equipped with miniature solar panels and a vertical wind turbine. It was showcased in the 2017 Engineering Open House (EOH) and won the first place EOH Green Award