This is the first time that the international competition will take place in Germany. The venue will be the Mirker city quarter in Wuppertal. The "Solar Decathlon Europe" will thus become part of a real laboratory. This is an experimental space in which scientists can test innovative technologies and integral energy concepts under real market conditions and in systemic interaction.

The Mirker city quarter is typical for a city district in Germany and Europe: rebuilding, adding new buildings, extending existing buildings and closing gaps between buildings are the central architectural challenges here. Resource efficiency, sufficiency, climate protection and recycling-friendly construction are central themes of the Wuppertal competition. Realistic solutions on the way to a resource-efficient, climate-neutral city are in demand and are to be developed by the teams in the competition. For the first time, the competition will focus on energy system transformation and climate protection in an urban quarter. The "Solar Decathlon" in Wuppertal becomes the "Urban Solar Decathlon": It is an appeal to students to put their creative ideas into practice and to shape this path together with industry.

Bild 2: Zeitstrahl Ablauf Solar Decathlon

© Grafik: Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie/Bärbel Offergeld

The international call for applications for the "Solar Decathlon Europe 2021" will start in March this year. Then the student teams can apply until autumn. The "Europe" in the name of the competition only stands for the venue and does not restrict the origin of the participants to the European continent. By the end of 2019, the teams that will compete in the final in September 2021 have been determined. They will then have almost two years to design and plan their houses and build them on site in Wuppertal as demonstrators. The competition is designed as a decathlon: The buildings of the student teams will be evaluated in ten different disciplines.

It is the fifth competition of its kind in Europe. In July of this year, the "Solar Decathlon Europe" will take place outside Budapest in Hungary. The competition format originated in the USA. The first Solar Decathlon started there in 2002. Since 2010, the format has also been available as an offshoot focusing on solar plus energy houses in Europe  the first city at that time was Madrid, followed by Paris. In total, more than 250 buildings have been created as usable and tangible buildings in the 13 Solar Decathlon competitions to date.

Germany has long been committed to further developing the content of the competition format and is leading a working group at the International Energy Agency (IEA) to this end. On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi), the project management agency Jülich (PtJ) launched an ideas competition in 2017 under the "EnEff.Gebäude.2050" funding initiative. The competition was looking for concepts for an international energy competition for buildings and neighbourhoods that present an interesting venue and integrate the competition site into the urban environment as a sustainable "Living Lab". The team from the University of Wuppertal, the City of Wuppertal, the Wuppertal Institute and the Utopia City Initiative were awarded first prize for their proposal "Solar Decathlon goes Urban". This was the basis for the German bid to host the "Solar Decathlon Europe" in 2021, which the Energy Endeavour Foundation has now awarded to Wuppertal.


University of Wuppertal
Dr. Daniel Lorberg
Email: lorberg(at)
Mobil: +49 176 - 2019 36 81

Dr.-Ing. Katharina Simon
Email: ksimon(at)

Last Update: 24. January 2019

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