Solar Head of State, a nonprofit that helps world leaders become green leaders by installing solar panels on government buildings, has announced the winners of the Jamaica Solar Challenge, a competition that invites young people from across the country to create innovative communication projects and educate their communities about the benefits of renewable energy. A video about the Jamaica Solar Challenge and the winning entry is available here.
Awards were presented by the Most Hon. Prime Minister Andrew Holness during a ceremony at the Office of the Prime Minister of Jamaica, which has recently commissioned its high-efficiency, state-of-the-art solar PV array. The solar installation demonstrates Jamaica’s commitment to a 50% renewable energy transition for electricity generation by 2030.
Students and participants were provided with guidelines to design projects that inspire their communities to recognize and learn about the benefits of solar power.
The many submissions received have taken a variety of forms, whether written, displayed, or performed. The winning projects, awarded with prizes, were able to demonstrate creativity and ability to communicate effectively and with originality the advantages of adopting renewable energy sources for Jamaicans.
The winning projects each received a trophy, Bresheh backpack and cash prize sponsored by the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center:
First prize J$75,000 (~US$570): Ryan Bent (age 21) of the University of the West Indies and Negril
Second prize [Team entry] J$40,000 (~US$300): Amy Hussey (age 17), Adrienne Lee and Eva Wynter (age 15) of the American International School of Kingston
Third prize J$17,500 (~US$130): Phillip Llewellyn (age 19) from Trenchtown, Kingston
Runners up each received J$12,500 (~US$95) and a certificate of commendation. This was awarded to Timoy Chambers (age 14) of Westmoreland Parish, Jarda Nelson (age 19) of UWI and Portmore, and Shenelle Mclaughlin (age 20) of Portmore.
Major sponsors for the event were the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center, Public Services International, the Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers. Additional support was received from Bresheh, RECAM, and the Florida Intercultural Academy.
Youth groups partners included the Caribbean Youth Environment Network and the Commonwealth Youth Council. Solar Head of State has run a first-of-its-kind community solar competition as part of the broader effort to empower young people with the necessary tools to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Caribbean islands like Jamaica are really embracing renewable energy as part of their plans to become decarbonized in the coming decades.
Following similar installations by the President of the Maldives and Governor-General of Saint Lucia, Jamaica’s prominent adoption of solar sets an example for other nations around the world that renewable energy can make a global impact.
While island nations such as Jamaica are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, this project along with the Jamaica Solar Challenge is a reminder that they are also leading in finding solutions.