Solar Decathlon India: A National Youth Engagement Competition focused on Climate Change Solutions to upskill Professionals and deliver Net-Zero Buildings

July 16, 2020, New Delhi: Solar Decathlon India, a uniquely Indian competition of international standards enabling “Young leaders for net-zero” launched today. Solar Decathlon India is co-organized by the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) and the Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE) under the aegis of the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).  It is envisioned as a harbinger of change that nurtures India’s demographic dividend to provide sensible design solutions for communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  At its core, the mission is to train and innovate for net-zero-energy-water-waste buildings that are super-efficient powered by renewable energy, resilient, and affordable.

The Solar Decathlon India competition will create opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in India to work on the design of energy efficient and self-reliant buildings. It will nurture collaboration in science and technology as well as innovation in renewable energy to meet India’s sustainable economic development goals. The Solar Decathlon India builds on similar competitions held among students in other parts of the world.   A few students from India have participated in Solar Decathlons around the world.  Now, Solar Decathlon India could enable in time the participation of over 5,00,000 enrolled college students from the building sector. They are expected to propose solutions for the Indian context as well as for tropical regions of a warming and vulnerable world.

The participating teams in Solar Decathlon India will engage in real building projects. By partnering with developers, clients, or other real estate proponents, they will introduce market-ready, and scalable solutions that can combat Climate Change.  There will be ten contest areas, with strong mentoring and evaluation for each of the components and the entries will be evaluated for each of the ten contests.  This competition also has strong mentoring components.  Apart from online coursework and masterclasses for all participants, Solar Decathlon India will offer an immersive 6-week incubation with mentoring from experts for select teams Solar Decathlon India will offer an immersive 6-week incubation with mentoring from experts.

Climate Change is jeopardizing our lives and livelihoods. Extreme weather events and heat islands are more frequent today than ever.  Every summer, more and more Indian cities experience temperatures above 40ºC. Storms, changing rainfall patterns, floods, and rising sea levels are resulting in loss of lives and property as well as, water crises and droughts. To limit global warming to 1.5°C and support India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) as a commitment to the Paris Climate agreement we must achieve a 50% reduction in building energy demand by 2050. Accelerated action starts with resilient net-zero-energy buildings.

Solar Decathlon India is closely aligned with India’s commitment to achieving the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to limit the emission of greenhouse gases under the Paris Agreement. This competition supports six of India’s eight missions that were set up under India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change.  In addition, the building design innovation advances affordable and energy-efficient construction for the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana, taking the goal of affordable thermal comfort for all forward. It also supports the implementation of the India Cooling Action Plan by aiming for a 50% reduction in cooling demand and 33% reduction in installed cooling capacity.  The Solar Decathlon India will also help India in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, exploring affordable solutions that are forward-looking, with hands-on training for the future generations to innovate and implement them.

Registration for the first Solar Decathlon India begins in July 2020. For more information, please visit

Dr. Nandini Kannan, Executive Director of the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum said, “The Indo-US Science and Technology Forum is delighted to be a part of the Solar Decathlon India collegiate challenge. I am confident that our young leaders will embrace this interdisciplinary challenge and develop innovative solutions for sustainable pathways. By encouraging teams to take a holistic approach to design and construction, Solar Decathlon India will help train a new generation of architects and engineers.”  

Aromar Revi, the Director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements and one of the coordinating lead authors of the IPCC Special Report on 1.5C said, “Solar Decathlon India is an interdisciplinary collegiate competition to design affordable net-zero-energy-water-waste buildings. This is an important first step for India to start on implementing the energy, urban and infrastructure transitions that could change the course of Indian urbanization and help the world achieve the goals of Paris Climate Agreement and the SDGs by 2030.”

Dr. Satish Kumar, President and Executive Director of the Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy, said“The building sector holds the potential for a double win for India. One, providing a powerful tool to stimulate the economy. And two, moving the whole sector to a greener state.  Solar Decathlon India will pave pathways for future low carbon solutions for buildings in India and the Global South. This is a positive milestone in India’s Nationally Determined Contribution commitment of 1.5°C pathway to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases.”

Prasad Vaidya, Director of Solar Decathlon India said, “The experience at Solar Decathlon India will be transformational. It will provide participating students with a unique life-changing experience that prepares them for the clean energy workforce. In addition to working on real projects, they will kickstart work on smart solutions for high-performance buildings and sustainable communities.”

Ashok B. Lall, expert practitioner of net-zero-buildings said, “Solar Decathlon India is transformational. I have seen some of the presentations of the international Solar Decathlon over the years and I see great value in its interdisciplinary and comprehensive problem-solving offering.”

Enquire now

Give us a call or fill in the form below and we will contact you. We endeavor to answer all inquiries within 24 hours on business days.