Dubai, UAE: HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, has inaugurated the Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME 2018). Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) organises SDME 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, from 14 to 28 November 2018 at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Seih Al Dahal in Dubai.

The opening ceremony was attended by HE Matar Humaid Al Tayer, Chairman of DEWA; HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and MD & CEO of DEWA; HE Dawood Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality; HE Ahmed Buti Al Muhairbi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Energy; HE Mohammad Abdullah Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power; Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi CEO of Masdar, Najeeb Al Ali, Executive Director of Expo 2020 Dubai; Joan Glickman, Senior Advisor at the US Department of Energy, and ambassadors and consuls of countries represented in the competition, as well as the media.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum toured the competition site, accompanied by HE Matar Al Tayer and HE Saeed Al Tayer. They viewed the smart and sustainable homes, which have been designed and built by 15 teams representing 28 universities from 11 countries around the world.

“Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, I am honoured to welcome you to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, this sustainable landmark today hosts the opening of the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018. This year’s competition is particularly important as it takes place during the Year of Zayed, which marks 100 years since the birth of our Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a man of the environment and a pioneer of sustainability. His approach is continued by the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The UAE gives priority to innovation as an approach to develop sustainable solutions for the challenges that face mankind. It believes in the potential and capabilities of youth as the driving force for building a brighter future. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park has been selected to host this important event, as it is the largest single-site solar park in the world. It supports our efforts to achieve the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to provide 75% of Dubai’s total power output from clean energy, and make Dubai the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050,” said Saeed Al Tayer.

“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum once said, “We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can leave a legacy long after we are gone.” His Highness always emphasises the need to encourage young people and provide them with a suitable environment for creativity and innovation, to help achieve the sustainable development goals and support global efforts to combat climate change. This leading international competition is organised by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and DEWA with the US Department of Energy, for the first time in the Middle East and Africa. Dubai is part of these pioneering efforts and is hosting two consecutive competitions, with the second Solar Decathlon being held in conjunction with Expo 2020 Dubai,” added Al Tayer.

“Sustainability has always had a strong presence in this region. Our ancestors used natural materials to build houses that adapted to the surrounding environment. They constructed Barjeel wind towers as natural air conditioners to overcome high temperatures. Today in the UAE, the hub for innovation and creativity, 15 teams representing 28 universities from 11 countries around the world spanning 4 continents, are presenting their smart homes that contribute to a sustainable lifestyle. These houses use clean energy, are cost-effective, and energy-efficient,” said Al Tayer.

Al Tayer noted that over the next two weeks, the jury will evaluate the houses, which will be available to the public to visit and meet the university teams. Visitors will have the chance to learn more about the innovative methods and technologies that are reducing the environmental impact of these houses, which have been designed to fit the climatic, and environmental conditions of the Middle East.

“To all the participating teams, I congratulate you on your achievements. I thank you for your efforts over the past two years, especially in the past two weeks. I assure you that everyone is a winner in this competition. Your participation demonstrates your awareness of the importance of sustainability in building a greener future, for generations to come,” said Al Tayer to the participating teams.

Al Tayer also thanked the sponsors, partners, jury members, and everyone who took part in organising this international competition.

SDME Steering Committee includes DEWA; Dubai Supreme Council of Energy; Ministry of Cabinet Affairs & The Future; Ministry of Energy & Industry; Ministry of Education; Dubai Municipality; Dubai Police; Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA); Expo 2020 Dubai; and Dubai Future Foundation. SDME sponsors include the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy; Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar); Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC); General Electric; and Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power in the Platinum Category; Mai Dubai, Meydan, and BASF in the Gold Category; and Almarai in the Silver Category. Partners include the World Green Economy Summit and Emirates Green Building Council.

Chevrolet is the Official Mobility Partner of SDME. General Motors Africa and Middle East is providing 17 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles for the teams to use during the competition.  

Total prizes for the two rounds of the competition total AED 20 million. DEWA has allocated 60,000 square metres for the competition area at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Seih Al Dahl in Dubai.

To visit SDME’s site and view the university teams’ projects and enjoy other activities, please register on 


For more information, please contact:
Ribal Dayekh or Ahmed Albanna
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority
+971 4 322 2405
+971 55 22 67222                                        
Joumana El Tarabulsi or Joyce Mourad
+971 58 2221631
+971 56 3757729 

© Press Release 2018

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