The world’s largest, most competitive collegiate competition to design high-performance buildings, powered by renewable energy, is coming to Dubai.

TheSolar Decathlon Middle East (SDME)takes place in Dubai in November 2018, coinciding with Dubai Design Week. The event will see 16 teams from 30 universities across 12 countries competing for cash prizes of USD +2.5 million. This is the first time that the competition will be held in the Middle East and Africa.

The student teams will design, build, and operate sustainable, cost- and energy-efficient models of solar-powered homes. The focus will be on environment-conscious design that takes the region’s climate into consideration.

Members of the public can view the designs, which will be showcased from November 14 to 29, 2018, at the competition’s venue – Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the world’s largest single-site solar energy project.

Shortlisted teams from the Middle East include Ajman University, the American University in Dubai, Heriot-Watt University Dubai, New York University Abu Dhabi, the American University of Ras Al Khaimah, Dhufar University, and King Saud University.

Dubai will host two rounds of Solar Decathlon, in 2018 and in 2020, to coincide with Dubai Expo 2020. Recently designated as a UNESCO City of Design, Dubai is one of 24 cities around the world to have clearly demonstrated a commitment to using design as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

Solar Decathlon Middle East was created through an agreement between the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), and the United States Department of Energy. DEWA is organizing the event with Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, The Cabinet, Ministry of Energy & Industry, Ministry of Education, Dubai Municipality, RTA, Dubai Police, Dubai Future Foundation, and Expo 2020.