The Solar Decathlon is an international competition that challenges university teams to design and build houses powered exclusively by the renewable energy sources. Initiated in 2002 by the United States Department of Energy, the Solar Decathlon has traveled far and wide, becoming a worldwide movement.
The Solar Decathlon Europe is based on the same principles of the original U.S. Solar Decathlon: a university level student competition for energy-efficient and resource-responsible architecture and engineering. The site becomes an open forum and exhibition, where the houses are operated, demonstrated to the public, and evaluated by a jury of renowned international adjudicators.
Like the Olympic decathlon, the competition consists of ten contests. These are either measured (i.e. solar power generation) or juried (i.e. architecture). The results of the ten contests are calculated, thus determining the overall winner.
The main aim of competition is to promote of architectural solutions related to solar energy, renewable energies and innovative technologies through the houses built by the teams. The Solar Decathlon stimulates integrated academic education crossing individual disciplines at the participating universities. It stimulates and offers design and research tasks at the universities for more than the period of the competition.
University teams apply to Solar Decathlon from all around the world, regardless of whether the competition is held in Europe or on another continent. An international knowledge platform was recently established to make use of all available documents and results.
The Solar Decathlon has been hosted in the United States eight times. The competition has also been held beyond the United States; in Europe (2010, 2012, 2014), China (2013, 2018), Latin America (2015) and Middle East (2018). Further competitions are planned in the United States, China, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
The European editions of the Solar Decathlon Europe (SDE) were hosted by the Spanish government in Madrid in 2010 and 2012 and by the French government in Versailles in 2014.
Today, endorsed by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Endeavour Foundation (EEF) ensures the continuity of the Solar Decathlon Europe. The EEF designated the city of Szentendre, Hungary to host the SDE19 competition; under a shared European vision, Wuppertal, Germany is honoured to host the next exciting SDE21 competition event, in which the Solar Decathlon Europe ‘goes urban’ for the first time.