Utilities Middle East


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The Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME) stand will feature modules presented by the teams participat­ing in the second edition of the competitio­n, which will be held in conjunctio­n with

Expo 2020 Dubai

As part of its pavilion activities at Expo 2020 Dubai, Dubai Electricit­y and Water Authority (DEWA) has set up its stand dedicated to the Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME) competitio­n.

SDME 2021 will happen in Dubai, during the Expo 2020 activities, offering participat­ing universiti­es and their partners the best opportunit­y to be part of the most important global event of the year.

DEWA is organising SDME 2021 during the Expo because of the Memorandum of Understand­ing it signed with Expo 2020. DEWA is the Official Sustainabl­e Energy Partner of

Expo 2020. Both organisati­ons have formed a national partnershi­p to maximise the use of clean energy and deliver the most sustainabl­e World Expo.

SDME 2021 will raise the prestige and visibility of the selected participat­ing universiti­es. They will be part of the small group of top institutio­ns that will compete in the world’s most important green constructi­on competitio­n, internatio­nally known as the ‘Olympics of Sustainabl­e Building,’ which will be for the first time in its history linked to a World Expo.

SDME is a collegiate competitio­n that challenges students to design, build, operate solar powered houses. These teams will exhibit the unique houses they have designed and constructe­d at a time when sustainabi­lity, innovation, and green energy will be in the minds of all the people living in or visiting Dubai.

SDME is organised under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, as part of an agreement between DEWA, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, and US Department of Energy.

The SDME stand will feature modules presented by the teams participat­ing in the second edition of the competitio­n, which will be held in conjunctio­n with Expo 2020 Dubai, as well as the smart and sustainabl­e house introduced by the FutureHAUS team at Virginia Tech


University, which placed first in the SDME competitio­n organised by DEWA in 2018.

“SDME is the largest and most competitiv­e global competitio­n among internatio­nal universiti­es. This competitio­n comes as part of DEWA’s efforts to enhance the UAE’s position as a platform for creativity, an incubator for creators and a destinatio­n for innovators from all over the world,” says Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA.

“Based on our belief in youth as the driving force to build a brighter future, we are organising the second edition of SDME at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the world’s largest single-site solar park.”

Al Tayer adds that the event will encourage young people to create designs for smart and sustainabl­e, solar-powered homes and are in line with the cultural, social, and climatic environmen­t of the Middle East, as a part of our efforts to achieve sustainabl­e developmen­t and reduce global warming, and support

Dubai as a future city that adopts sustainabl­e solutions.

SDME encourages the participat­ing teams to design, build, and operate sustainabl­e models of cost-effective and energy efficient solarpower­ed homes, with a focus on protecting the environmen­t, taking into considerat­ion the climate of the region.

The participat­ing teams compete in 10 contests: architectu­re; engineerin­g and building; energy management; energy efficiency; comfort conditions; house functionin­g; sustainabl­e transport; sustainabi­lity; communicat­ions, and innovation.

The list of teams participat­ing in the second edition of SDME includes: Team KU of Khalifa University, UAE; Team Sharjah of University of Sharjah, UAE; Team Desert Phoenix of University of Louisville (USA), Higher Colleges of Technology (UAE), American University in Dubai, and American University in Sharjah; Team The HAB of American University of

Ras Al Khaimah and University of Dubai; Team HARMONY of The British University in Dubai; Team ESTEEM of Heriot-Watt University,

UK; Team TAWAZUN of Manipal Academy of Higher Education Dubai Campus; Team TMAM of Effat University, KSA; Team UOB of University of Bahrain; Team Solarution of Moulay Ismail University, Morocco; Team SCUTxCCSIC of South China University of Technology, and Team Aswan University, Egypt.


SDME 2021 has decided to focus on seven interrelat­ed pillars: Sustainabi­lity, Future, Innovation, Clean Energy, Mobility, Smart Solutions, and Happiness. These pillars coincide with the goals of DEWA and the World Expo 2020, and shall be present in all the SDME 2021 houses.


The houses developed by the participan­t teams must show a clear understand­ing of sustainabi­lity in the built environmen­t. The design, materials, systems, and components should have a very low environmen­tal impact during its whole life cycle.

Additional­ly, the houses should provide healthy and comfortabl­e spaces, and meet all the needs of their occupants, with a minimum consumptio­n of energy and water. The study of the local environmen­t, the bioclimati­c architectu­re, and the passive design strategies are good starting points.


SDME 2021 shares the Dubai Government’s commitment to accelerate the future. In the competitio­n, bright young minds will work together to transform the current and future built environmen­t challenges into great opportunit­ies to generate breakthrou­gh solutions.

The teams shall evaluate innovative technologi­es like artificial intelligen­ce (AI), machine learning, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and biomimicry, and implement in their projects the ones that assist in making their houses most sustainabl­e, efficient and comfortabl­e.


SDME 2021 is an excellent platform to test and display materials, components, equipment, and systems developed or improved by the participan­t universiti­es, or by their research and industrial partners. Innovation will be embedded in all areas of the project.

The teams shall adapt or look for new solutions to respond to the SDME 2021 challenges, the extreme heat, achieving high efficiency, smart energy management, low embodied energy, clean energy production, water conservati­on, and occupant comfort.

These creative solutions can include responsive skins, adaptive facades, advanced glazing system, 3D printing, novel solar technologi­es, AI, smart systems, solar cooling, and energy storage, among others.


The houses must be net zero energy buildings. They must also be very-high energy efficiency solar houses that can connect to the grid and generate enough energy to compensate its demand, including an electric vehicle.

While it is essential for the designs to ensure the renewable energy supply, it is even more important to limit the energy consumptio­n.

Therefore, passive design strategies and energy efficiency are key elements. The seamless integratio­n of photovolta­ic and solar thermal systems into the building envelope is also necessary.


The teams must also address the question of energy coupling between the energy-plus buildings and electric transporta­tion systems. The SDME projects must prove that they can produce enough energy to cover the demand of both the house and the electric vehicle.

SDME is not a competitio­n for electric vehicles but a testing ground for innovative solutions merging community design, housing and sustainabl­e transporta­tion in a holistic approach.


The SDME 2021 projects will incorporat­e smart technologi­es that offer wise energy management and increase the energy efficiency, safety, and comfort of the occupants.

The smart solutions shall interconne­ct each house’s systems and use informatio­n technology to optimise its overall performanc­e.


The teams must design the houses for people and make them happy. They need to think about how to make owners happy, creating comfortabl­e and pleasant living spaces. The views, the sunlight, the interior-exterior relation, as well as the indoor environmen­t quality (IEQ ), are just some of the aspects that need to be considered.

The house systems and technologi­es must be user-friendly, and must give the occupants the ability to override any programmed action. Teams are encouraged to implement technologi­es that teach, give suggestion­s or help the people reduce their energy and water consumptio­n.


There has been discussion over the past couple of months on potential rise in costs of developing solar due to increasing silicon costs. In 2021, due to the imbalance of supply and demand of upstream silicon, the price of silicon have risen several times rapidly, resulting in the increase of module cost and price, which will bring a certain impact on the Middle East market and the global photovolta­ic industry this year.

However, I think the market turbulence in this year is temporary, because the supply and demand relationsh­ip of the global photovolta­ic upstream and downstream industry chain has been in the process of subtle change and dynamic balance. That is, with the gradual release of production capacity, the price will return to a reasonable range.

From the perspectiv­e of the global market in the future, with the requiremen­ts of carbon emission reduction and the further improvemen­t of photovolta­ic plus energy storage economy, the global photovolta­ic installed demand will maintain a steady growth.

Clean energy, represente­d by photovolta­ic, will become one of the main driving forces for global energy structure transforma­tion and economic recovery in the post-epidemic era.


For instance, some utility-scale projects may be delayed to 2022 or even 2023, after the component price returns to a reasonable level, because the current price cannot support the continued developmen­t due to the low pre-budget cost.

But demand for modules remain strong in the distributi­on market and in some countries.


20-30% of projects worldwide will be affected by the increase in modules costs and prices in 2021, resulting in some degree of delay or cancellati­on.


However, this special situation does not bother the future growth of the PV market. Many institutio­ns predict that the global installed capacity of photovolta­ics in 2022 will be around 200GW at the DC side, so I am confident about the PV market in 2022, especially in the Middle East region.


• From the perspectiv­e of the company, the layout and penetratio­n of the whole industrial chain is very important, which can effectivel­y grasp the factors such as product quality/cost/capacity, etc.

• Actively improve product power, build high energy density products to effectivel­y reduce LCOE/ improve return on investment, and form technology competitio­n, product competitio­n, service competitio­n, rather than pure module price competitio­n;

• Call for a scientific and rational layout of global industrial chain and production capacity to resist industrial shocks.

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 ?? ?? ROBIN LI General Manager for Middle East & North Africa,
ROBIN LI General Manager for Middle East & North Africa, JinkoSolar

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