Energy Innovations Rules

Energy Innovations is a full-scale renewable energy design challenge for students (grades 4 – 12), which explores the use of renewable energy technologies as applied to one’s daily life or to a real-world problem.

Design and Construction

Under the supervision of a teacher, mentor, or coach, each team of 2 – 6 students is responsible for designing and building a fully operational demonstration product or artistic work that is powered by renewable energy.  The goal is to design, build and effectively power the final team project using renewable energy, as well as communicate its attributes.

Construction requirements:

  1. Teams must use a renewable energy source to power their design.
  2. Teams may not build scale models; however as long as the project is full-sized, there is not a physical size requirement. Projects may range from micro-electronic to very large.
  3. An auxiliary informational piece is to be created by the team.
  4. All teams must be able to discuss their designs with a panel of judges. In the event they are unable to transport their designs to the competition, the team must produce and use documents, photos, videos, schematics, energy flow charts, etc. to fully convey their project and its performance. Teams should have enough supporting materials to adequately represent their design and student construction–refer to the Judging Criteria below for what areas will need to be covered.
  5. All teams must complete the Design Abstract (Firefox users, download to edit); including a photo of the team’s project, at least 10 days prior to the competition. Failure to submit a design abstract will result in a 10 point deduction from the team’s Design Judging score. Forms and photos should be emailed to
  6. Safety is of the utmost importance, and relates to the purpose of your design. If your product is meant to be used outdoors (as most will be), then all wiring and components need to be suitable for outside use. Additionally, since these designs will be on display, you should take into account your project’s safety around children and the general (inquisitive) public, and avoid dangling wires or uncovered connections. The Education Department of the Florida Solar Energy Center will answer any electrical safety questions. Please call if you need advice.
  7. The same design may be used for more than one year, but the design must display at least a 40% change over the previous year.

Projects that are deemed unsafe will be disqualified

Construction variables:

  1. Batteries may be used in the design but are not required for applications that are meant to only work during the specific times when the renewable energy source is available.
  2. Projects do not have to be practical or marketable by today’s standards–whimsical or forward-thinking designs are encouraged.

Informational Materials

Each team is to create a public education piece to accompany their project. The purpose of this piece is to highlight the useful, creative and/or functional aspects of their project as well as the environmental benefits and the usability of renewable energy. This informational piece can be in any format that the team chooses. Examples might include:

  • Brochure/flyer
  • Video clip/public service announcement
  • Poster
  • Web page (WiFi may not be available, so plan accordingly)
  • Giveaways
  • Team performance (i.e. a song, skit, jingle, etc.)

These examples are not meant to be exclusive; students are encouraged to be creative. The informational materials should be geared toward the general public.
Teams will also be judged on how well the project is presented to the judging team. This will include the team’s knowledge and informational materials. Teams are also expected to interact with the public on competition day.

Competition Day

At the competition, each team will have a ‘booth’ space at least ten feet wide (with a 6′ table if desired), in which to display their design, informational materials or anything else they choose. These display spaces will be in a marked area outdoors. If running water, 120 volt AC power, or additional space is needed for the display, prior notice must be given.

Judging Criteria

  • Design Decisions–How well does the team understand their renewable energy source? How well thought out are the design decisions? Was careful attention paid to parts selection and integration? Was proper attention paid to safety issues?
  • Construction Technique–How well did the students construct their design? Is the design durable?
  • Design Function–How well does the design function according to team specified goals?
  • Delivered Message–How well is their renewable energy technology represented in their project, and their informational materials?
  • Creativity of Design–How creative is the design? Is it a novel or interesting solution to a problem?
  • Informational Materials–Do the materials inform and inspire interest in the product?

During the competition, no pets except service animals will be permitted at EnergyWhiz.
Individual students may participate in no more than (2) EnergyWhiz competitions as team members.

Energy Innovation Awards

The awards will be as follows (separate awards for divisions):

  • 1st Place Design
  • 2nd Place Design
  • 3rd Place Design
  • WOW! Award