Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), in partnership with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and the US Department of Energyorganized the second edition of the Solar Decathlon Middle East. 

SDME is a competition for university students challenging them with designing, building and operating sustainable and solar-powered homes. This year teams from 12 universities selected around the world are competing.  

The winning team will be the one that blends design, excellence and smart energy production with innovation, energy and water efficiency.  

The event will take place between November 11th and 25th at the Decathlon Village in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Parkunder the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai. 

photo: SDME

Let us have a look at few of the participating teams: 

Team ESTEEM, of Heriot-Watt University in the UK and Heriot-Watt University in Dubai, presents a net-zero energy, digital home that adopts smart technologies, AI integration and intelligent cooling solutions.  

Team HARMONY of the British University in Dubai presented a sustainable house provided with smart systems that control temperature, lighting, air quality, and humidity, soil and plant to help indoor agriculture. The house also includes an advanced system for energy management, water recycling and purification, a device for recycling organic waste and converting them into fertiliser.  

Team SCUTxCCSIC from the South China University of Technology developed technologies to treat rain and dirty water and photovoltaic bifacial panels to shade the house from direct sunlight, capture and store solar power from the roof to generate electricity.  

Key platform for innovators

SDME is positioning the UAE as a key platform for innovators adopting the latest sustainable solutions to support climate change and more environmentally friendly lifestyles.  

“We believe that young people are the driving force for a brighter and more sustainable future. Hosting the first and second SDME in Dubai with total prizes over AED20 million is part of DEWA’s efforts to engage youth in sustainable development and help them develop innovative solutions to counter climate change effects” – said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA. 

This year’s competition is particularly important as it coincides with Expo 2020 Dubai. The theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and the topics of Sustainability, Mobility, and Opportunity perfectly match with the objectives of SDME. 

The construction of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park was announced in January 2012.  

Launched by DEWA, it supports Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to make the city a global hub for clean energy and green economy (in 2050, 75% of Dubai’s total power output will be produced from clean energy). 

When completed, it will save 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.  

The Park comprises of an Innovation Centre, a Research & Development Centre and a 3-D printed lab.  


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