It started as one single idea in 2005 and in the following editions it grew to an international race: the World Cup for Solar Powered Boats.

In Australia the World Solar Challenge on the road has been organised since 1987. It would be cool and should be possible to organize a solar race in the Netherlands combined with Friesian waterways. That's what energy policy officer Bouwe de Boer from the province of Friesland must have had in mind in 2005 when the first ideas for a Frisian Solarboat race developed. The ideas were then discussed and thought through with professor Wubbo Ockels from the Technical University in Delft and event planner Andries van Weperen.

Summer 2006 the moment was finally there: the first Frisian Nuon Solar Challenge kicked off. Four out of the 24 participating boats finished within 24 hours. The otherboats were unable to make the timeslot, but crossed the finish line later on. After this first edition participants as well as the organization made big innovative steps. At the second edition in 2008 28 boats launched and 24 teams finished within the 24 hours timeslot. In 2010 the organization changed the event’ title due to a change of the head sponsor: DONG Energy Solar Challenge.

With 43 participating teamst here was a record amount of contestants in 2010. The race innovated and the organization added extra stages to the original parcours. It was the first time in history that solar boats used hydrofoils, which made them considerably faster. In 2006 the fastest boat travelled 200km in 17 hours. In 2010 the same distance took only 11,5 hours. And in 2012 the teams showed even more progression: 10 hours and 40 minutes. The range of participants broadened. Instead of mostly Dutch teams more and more international teams joined the DONG Energy Solar Challenge. In 2012 contestant came from all around the world, from China to Brazil, USA and many European countries.

In 2014 40 international teams competed against each other in the DONG Energy Solar Challenge. Teams from Bahrain, China, USA, Brazil, Finland, Poland and Indonesia headed for the North of the Netherland to race with their solar boats. The innovative boost was amazing. The TU Delft Solar Boat Team for example used a whole new principle which caused even less water resistance. Another highlight of this year was the introduction of hydrofoils in the A-class. The edition of 2014 was extra special because of the new route through Friesland and Groningen. It took the fastest solar boat only 7 hours and a bit to complete the race.

In 2016 36 teams competed in the Dutch Solar Challenge. Including international coming from Belgium, Turkey, Bahrain, China, Brazil, Finland, Hungary, Poland and Indonesia.