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NC State Solar House

Renewable Energy Education Program

Are you ready to embark on a journey toward a sustainable future? Are you curious about renewable energy and its tremendous potential? We offer Solar House visits for individuals and groups interested in learning more about sustainability, renewable energy, and how they can reduce their energy consumption. Over 4,000 schoolchildren have participated in solar house tours and an energy education-related engineering challenge classroom activity. We look forward to you joining us at the Solar House and learning more about how engineers are involved in renewable energy! With our hands-on, open-ended challenges, you can “Think and Do” like an engineer. Come join us for a fun STEM experience! See program details below.

Solar House History

The NCSU Solar House, built in 1981 by NC State College of Engineering and designed by leading NC State engineers Dr. Herbert Eckerlin, Al Boyers, and Ray DeBruhl, was created to promote and demonstrate renewable energy technologies to the community. 

2023-2024 Academic Year Schedule

Fall EventsEvent
Notification of
Home School VisitsSep 25, 2023Sept 1, 2023Sep 8, 2023
High School VisitsOct 27, 2023Aug 28, 2023Sep 1, 2023
Middle School VisitsDec 8, 2023Sept 25, 2023Oct 9, 2023
Note: We will accept late registrations and will accommodate as space is available.
Spring EventsEvent
Notification of
Elementary School VisitsFeb 16, 2024Dec 4, 2023Dec 18, 2023
Home School VisitsMar 15, 2024Feb 5, 2024Feb 12, 2024
Middle School VisitsMay 3, 2024Feb 16, 2024Feb 26, 2024
Note: We will accept late registrations and will accommodate as space is available.

Solar House Location

  • The Solar House is next to the McKimmon Conference Center at the corner of Western Blvd. and Gorman Street. The Solar House address is 1201 Gorman St, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • Click here for driving directions to the McKimmon Conference Center and the NC State Solar House.

Program Costs

  • Individuals – $7.00
  • Groups of 5 to 15 students – $35.00
  • Groups of 16-30 students – $50.00

We will contact you regarding the status of your selection and payment process!  

We have financial support to help schools and students with parents attend our programs. You can indicate your need when completing the registration form.

Due to material and staff costs, we are unable to refund or transfer group/individual registration costs.  All payments made are non-refundable.

Due to space constraints, the maximum number of students per session is limited to 30 students. If your school has more than 30 students planning to attend, register for multiple sessions to accommodate your group size – see sample schedules below.

Requirements for Participation

  • Parents, teachers, and chaperones must remain with their children/students throughout the entire event, from the time of arrival until the end of the program.
  • Groups need to ensure the following chaperone numbers when attending the event:
    • High School: 1 chaperone, 12 students
    • Middle School: 1 chaperone, 10 students
    • Elementary: 1 chaperone, 6 students
  • Closer to event dates, details such as an event schedule and parking instructions will be emailed to those selected to attend.

A Typical K-12 Classroom Visit Includes:

Creative, hands-on, real-world problem-solving engineering challenge aligned to state standards.

Students are provided guided tours of the solar house, exploring its innovative design and learning about the various sustainable features incorporated into the building.  They witness first hand how solar panels, passive heating and cooling systems, and energy-efficient appliances work together to create an environmentally friendly living space.

Sample Classroom Visit Descriptions & Schedules

Solar House activities and challenges are focused on renewable and sustainable energy.  Get ready to roll up your sleeves and get involved! Students will explore concepts like solar energy collection, energy storage, and efficient design as they construct models. You’ll have the opportunity to engage in exciting, real-world engineering challenges that bring energy concepts to life. Specific challenges connected to NC State standards coming soon.

High school students with an interest in design and engineering can participate in hands-on challenges related to sustainable architecture and renewable energy systems. These activities encourage creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.  For example, students may 

  • create their own mini solar-powered models
  • design innovative solutions to improve energy efficiency in buildings
  • design and build a flashlight powered by motion

Middle school students engage in exciting engineering challenges that promote hands-on learning and creativity. These activities educate students about the importance of renewable energy sources and inspire them to consider innovative ways to address our energy needs sustainably. Students may

  • design and build a miniature solar-powered house or car
  • explore wind energy by designing and constructing wind turbines, learn about the power of wind and how it can generate electricity

Elementary school students will engage in a fun hands-on, open-ended engineering challenge.  Through hands-on projects, students investigate different types of renewable energy. For instance, students may

  • explore wind energy by designing and constructing wind turbines, learn about the power of wind and how it can generate electricity
  • explore hydropower by building miniature water wheels to understand how flowing water can be harnessed for energy productionexplore hydropower by building miniature water wheels to understand how flowing water can be harnessed for energy production


If you have questions, please email us at If you have questions about solar energy for your home, please get in touch with the NC Clean Energy Technology Center at or call (919) 515-3480.

NC State Solar House Photo Gallery

Solar House 2015
Solar House Back Yard, Spring 2022

Solar House Virtual Tour and Construction Video

Dedicated and opened to the public in 1981, the Solar House at NC State University is one of the most visible and visited solar buildings in the state and the nation. Over the last two decades, more than 300,000 people have toured the facility.

NC State Solar House Tour by Dr. Stephen Terry, 2021

Solar House Construction Video, 1981

NC Solar House Construction Video in 1981