Once upon a time,
a formidable international collaboration was born between america & europe.
One fine day at the turn of this millenium, Richard King, a scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy, imagined a world where architects & engineers would play
a role as the hero in innovation & sustainability. He believed that they could help lead the way toward conscientious living & long-lasting responses to our homes, habitats & communities. Richard foresaw our roles in creating affordable & available clean-energy living solutions for us on this planet.
The Solar Decathlon (SD) was launched in 2000 as a challenge to university teams
to design, build & operate highly energy-efficient & completely solar-powered homes. By generating widespread media coverage to reach millions of people, SD generated parallel power to educate the public on the benefits, affordability & availability of clean energy solutions. This first SD edition welcomed over 200,000 visitors
on the nation’s stage, the National Mall, in Washington D.C.
The next SD competition in 2005 was equally successful. This event included
the first international teams from Canada and Spain. 2007 & 2009 saw even more international participation; Germany was represented by TU Darmstadt, winning both times among teams from the U.S., Canada & Spain. The SD 2011 saw record international participation with teams from Belgium, Canada, China& New Zealand. Gaining momentum for sure!
Continued European interest & involvement led to a 2008 Memorandum
of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. & Spain. Spanish governmental officials sigwwned on to host the Solar Decathlon Europe, first Solar Decathlon beyond american borders. The first SDE took place in the summer of 2010, in Madrid.
It was the most international event to date, with teams coming from eight countries.
After european ‘wins’ in the 2007 & 2009 U.S. SD editions, the U.S. won the inaugural European event, creating the climate of energetic exchange & shared knowlege
for an international Solar Decathlon community on the go.
The SDE success in Spain led to a renewed MOU & a second SDE in Madrid.
In 2012, teams from eleven countries, including Asia & South America, competed
for the ultimate best scores in the ten contests. The SD in Europe has since become
a springboard for international participation in the Solar Decathlon phenomenon.
The european movement has gained traction. In 2012, the French government signed an MOU with the U.S. DOE to host the SDE in 2014. Versailles, historical platform of peace treaties at the end of WW1, was chosen as the site for the ‘Villa Solar’. The SDE14 in Versailles was truly international in nature. Teams from 16 nations & 4 continents participated in a naturally charged & exciting french hub. Focusing on local urban issues & emphasising streamlined communications,
the revised SDE14 rules incorporated a focus on local urban issues & an emphasis on streamlined communications actions. The Speed Peer Review Bonanza kicked off the competition, which showcased the most ambitious houses yet in the SD story.
International in fact & in spirit, this european version of the SD competition has propelled former organizers & participants to ensure the long-term impact & vitality of the Solar Decathlon in Europe. This mandate is being supported by the Energy Endeavour Foundation and the SDE Council of Experts, who are working toward
a successful SDE 2019.
Find more information on the SDE Council of Experts here: SDE Council of Experts.