Solar Decathlon 2018


This picture is taken from “@futurehausdubai”s Instagram page

By: Velko Cvetkovic

Have you ever seen a house fully powered by the sun? Well, in November of 2018, Virginia Tech went to Dubai for a competition against 14 universities from 11 different countries. The Solar Decathlon was created by the United States Department Of Energy to give countries an opportunity to show their sustainability, innovation, and research. Virginia Tech represented the United States in the competition. The contestants were required to design an almost entirely solar powered house, since the weather in Dubai is quite sunny. This makes it as efficient as possible, while being futuristic and convenient.

Solar panels on my roof
Mike Carter

Virginia Tech spent the year designing the perfect house, and ended up winning the competition. The house has 50 pv panels on it, and the peak power produced by the solar panels is 14kw. There is also a battery that will save all unused power to be used overnight. Though that might not sound like much, a surplus of energy is generated daily, leaving more than enough. The house is connected to the grid, yet able to produce more power than needed.


The house is very expensive, at approximately two million dollars. Though that seems extreme at first, the house will actually make you money over time if you live in a very sunny place like Dubai. Here’s how it works: the house produces energy throughout the day with its solar panels, meaning you won’t have to rely on energy from the grid. This house is mostly net-positive, being able to produce more energy than it needed. So, it essentially sells energy back to the grid. That doesn’t mean the house doesn’t take energy from the grid throughout the day, but it is able to produce even more. If you are thinking about doing this, you will need to do some research first; some states (like Virginia) don’t let you return energy to the grid, but other states (like California) do allow it.

12k Kaufmann Desert House, 470 W Vista Chino Rd
Kansas Sebastian

This is related to engineering because Virginia Tech is an engineering school, and they had to design and build this house from start to finish. The architects designed the house and the electrical engineers did the electrical work and built the house. The house is very cost efficient and eco-friendly; however, it is very expensive to build. In conclusion, if you are planning to live in a very sunny area for a long time, this type of house is well worth the expense. If you would like to contact Virginia Tech, their phone number is: 540-231-6000.

Video Link:
Video Link:
Video Link: