These frequently asked questions provide an overview of the Solar Decathlon Middle East. If you have a question that is not answered here or elsewhere on the site, please contact us.

Teams from colleges and universities across the globe participate in the Solar Decathlon. Today’s students are tomorrow’s engineers, architects, scientists, entrepreneurs, and homeowners. The Solar Decathlon encourages students to incorporate energy efficiency and clean energy into their future professional projects and personal lives. Like Olympic athletes, the solar decathletes draw on all their strengths, including design and architecture, engineering and performance, and education and promotion. The teams rely on expertise from many disciplines as they spend months fundraising, planning, designing, analyzing, and finally building and improving their houses. Future engineers work with future architects to create affordable, energy-efficient houses.
Teams composed of faculty and students from post-secondary institutions submit proposals and plans for consideration. Applications are evaluated by a panel of engineers, scientists, and building experts. Teams are required to meet specific criteria to demonstrate their ability to design and build an innovative, entirely solar-powered house; raise funds; support the project through well-integrated curricula; and assemble a team to carry the project through to completion. In addition, a panel of professionals evaluates conceptual designs from proposers. The results of their evaluations, combined with scores based on the four criteria listed above, determine the Solar Decathlon teams. If you are interested in competing in a future Solar Decathlon, learn how to apply.
The student teams spend almost two years designing and building their houses and preparing for the competition. Students test their houses to ensure optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The competition places demands on the buildings’ energy systems to maintain the house within a certain temperature range, to provide lighting, to run appliances, and much more. The houses generate energy with photovoltaic (also called solar electric) systems that produce electricity and with solar thermal systems for space heating and cooling and water heating.
Complete “as-built” drawings and project manuals from past Solar Decathlon teams can be downloaded from: • U.S. DoE SD 2015 • SD Europe 2014
Teams can be comprised of different universities students and external companies; however, the team must be led only by the universities participating.
While having fully executed sponsorship is beneficial during the application evaluation process, the SDME organization understands that the attainment of sponsorship is a protracted effort, so full proposals submitted without the fully executed sponsorship will be accepted.
The full proposal submission phase classifies whether the project has what it takes to compete and revise the capability of implementing the project and the ideas proposed. The design of the house and the final Architectural plans can be submitted after the Full Application phase.
The Solar Decathlon ME 2018 is open to all collegiate teams in the Middle East and around the world, but the focus is on design solutions for the Middle East Region.
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It has been decided for the competition period to be between October 2018 and November 2018.
Yes, prizes of AED 10 million are set for the winning teams.
A project manager is a team member from the leading university faculty responsible for the planning and execution of the project. A principal investigator can be the same person as the project manager or a higher level faculty member responsible for overall management of the project.
There are no restrictions on number of team members, it may reach up to 70 or 80 persons. The total number of team members can also vary across the development of the project.
Yes, team members can be modified until the final application phase of the competition.
Yes, graduate students are allowed to be part of the project team members.
Yes, the current proposal is on team capabilities. Therefore, it is allowed to change some of the content or the design of the project in future if needed.
Each team is responsible for finding the proper sponsors to fund the project or provide equipment needed. However, DEWA is offering prizes for all teams accepted to participate as stated in the RFP document.
Registration and submission of the proposals has been closed for SDME 2018. The next competition will be organized in 2020.
Yes, non-academic organizations can be part of the event in two different ways: Sponsorship/Partnership with a competing team. Sponsorship/Collaboration with the Solar Decathlon ME organization.
For sponsorship inquiries and information, please contact us on: 2018solardecathlonme@dewa.gov.ae +971-4-5150985 +971-4-5151054
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