China will hold its first Solar Decathlon in 2013, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), China’s National Energy Administration, Peking University, and Applied Materials, according to an announcement from the DOE. The first Solar Decathlon China will take place in 2013.

The Solar Decathlon China follows the launch of international version, Solar Decathlon Europe, which was held for the first time in Madrid in 2010. The next Solar Decathlon Europe is planned for 2012.

“I hope the competition will inspire a lot of Chinese college students to open up their minds and build their careers in developing innovative technologies and practices in renewable energy and building energy efficiency, “says Yu Pingrong, research professor and director of the Center of Solar Energy at Peking University.

The original Solar Decathlon, held bi-annually in the United States, challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. In past years, the competition was held over a two-week period on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The next Solar Decathlon is scheduled to start on Sept. 22, and be open to the public from Sept. 2 through Oct. 2. However, on January 11, the DOE announced that, in conjunction with the National Park Service, it is seeking a new site for the 2011 Solar Decathlon in order to protect, improve, and restore the National Mall. The new location has not yet been determined.

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