Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) organised a workshop for university teams who have qualified for the final stage of the 2nd Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME 2020), which DEWA organises under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai. This is one aspect of the partnership between DEWA and the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy with the US Department of Energy. Dubai hosted the first Solar Decathlon Middle East in November 2018, and the second will be organised next year in conjunction with Expo 2020 Dubai. The three-day workshop discussed the competition’s rules and next steps.
In his keynote speech at the workshop, HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, noted that hosting the first and second regional competitions of this global initiative with prizes totalling over AED20 million, emphasises Dubai’s position as a futuristic city that adopts sustainable solutions and provides opportunities for youth from around the world to be creative and innovative.
“One of the Eight Principles of Dubai, announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, state that, “The Emirate’s prominence, sustainability and competitiveness depend on its capacity to continue attracting skilled and talented people, and nurturing the brightest minds to generate innovative ideas.” The Solar Decathlon Middle East, the largest and most competitive and challenging competition among international universities, aims to involve young people in the sustainable development process, and encourage them to innovate. It gives them the opportunity to unleash their creativity by developing innovative solutions that support global efforts to address the impact of climate change. This is achieved by designing, building, and operating smart and sustainable solar-powered homes that are efficient in terms of cost and energy consumption, while focusing on environmental conservation and the region’s climate,” said Al Tayer.
Al Tayer noted that the first Solar Decathlon Middle East, which DEWA organised for the first time in the Middle East and Africa, achieved remarkable success. It attracted over 600 students and academics from 54 nationalities. 15 teams from 28 universities in 11 countries around the world took part in the competition. Over 60,000 square metres were allocated at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park to host this event. The solar park was chosen as it is the largest single-site solar park in the world, and supports DEWA’s efforts to achieve the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, to provide 75% of Dubai’s total power output from clean energy by 2050, and by 2050 make Dubai’s carbon footprint the lowest in the world.
“Thousands of visitors saw innovative models for smart, sustainable homes designed to suit the culture, society, and climate of the Middle East. I take this opportunity to commend the universities that took part in the first Solar Decathlon Middle East. I also thank the US Department of Energy, the organising committee, sponsors, students and faculty members who worked hard for two full years to develop innovative solutions that contribute to promoting the shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle,” added Al Tayer.
“While I congratulate you for reaching this stage of the competition, we hope to see more advanced models in the second Solar Decathlon Middle East, which will be held in conjunction with Expo 2020 Dubai whose main theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,’ and sub themes of Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability fit well with this leading global competition. At DEWA, and in line with the vision of our wise leadership that young people are the driving force for building a brighter future, we will continue to provide everything necessary for the success of the 2nd Solar Decathlon Middle East in the UAE, which has become as a hub for creativity and an incubator for innovators from around the world. We hope that this competition will be an opportunity for connecting thoughts, exchanging ideas, and developing knowledge so that you effectively participate in the sustainable development process,” concluded Al Tayer addressing the teams.
University teams that have qualified for the SDME 2020 include United Arab Emirates University; the University of Sharjah; Ajman University; Khalifa University; Al Ghurair University; Manipal Academy of Higher Education – Dubai Campus; New York University Abu Dhabi; the American University of Ras Al Khaimah; and the British University in Dubai from the UAE. They also include the University of Bahrain; Effat University from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Roma TRE; Herriot Watt-UK; South China University of Technology; National Taiwan University of Science and Technology; University of Maryland and Colorado School of Mines from the USA; University of Ontario Institute of Technology from Canada; and Moulay Ismail University and International University of Rabat from Morocco.
Participating teams compete in 10 contests: architecture; engineering and building; energy management; energy efficiency; comfort conditions; house functioning; sustainable transport; sustainability; communications, and innovation.