Awards were presented by 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.
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
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.
A video about the Jamaica Solar Challenge and the winning entry is available here.
Solar Head of State (SHOS) has been working with governments to build an alliance of green leaders worldwide since 2010. SHOS installs solar PV systems on symbolic buildings leveraging the experience to create visibility and social impact. Acting as a catalyst for wider adoption of new solutions for renewable energy, SHOS efforts support global influencers championing solar, increasing awareness and impacting change through innovative efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Profile on winner Ryan Bent:
My name is Ryan Harris Bent, a 21-year-old lover of music, songwriting and singing. I hail all the way from Negril, Westmoreland, however, I am currently enrolled at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus where I study computer science/ marketing.
Since birth, I've attended the Petersfield SDA church where I was first exposed to the wonderful world of music. My love for the art of writing had then begun to spark when I attended the Little London Primary school, where I first got exposed to dubbed poetry through performing wonderful pieces written by Mrs. Karen Knott-Banhan herself. Ever since, I was no stranger to the national JCDC festival of the Arts stage, which was held annually. I would either be asked to sing, dance or perform dubbed poetry pieces to represent my primary school, and the rest was history. Ever since the 2nd grade all the way up to 6th form, I've not just entered the competition but have been blessed to win many awards.
From there, the clear choice for me was The Manning's School as it is not just the beacon shining out of the West for just academics, but many other areas, of which the performing arts was and still is one of its best. Under the guidance and nurturing of Ms. Audrey Woolery-Williams from 1st through 6th form, my love for the performing arts and writing grew more and more. That, plus being a proud member of the nationally renowned performing arts group, B.A.D Company (B.A.D meaning Belief and Determination), all attributed to me being the singer/ writer I am today.
Upon arrival at UWI, I decided to put my love for the arts on the back burner in pursuit of my second love, student representation and so said, so done, I successfully campaigned, won and represented the Faculty of Science and Technology in the capacity of Guild Representative for the year 2017 to 2018 however, not forgetting my first love, the performing arts. For whatever event I helped to organize within the faculty, there was a little jingle to go along with it just to grab my fellow students attention and I was known by my fellow council as "the singy singy Sci-Tech rep".
I am grateful for Solar Head of State and all the contributing sponsors for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talent and enlighten others of the exponentially growing concern of climate change and how Jamaica, through renewable energy can shape a brighter future not just for ourselves but also the world at large. I strongly believe and advocate for this cause and it's message, and I am truly happy through I could use this platform to inspire my fellow Jamaicans. I believe we will pave a brighter future for ourselves and it all starts here.
As heard in my song: "Jamaica light bill too much, it needs the renewable energy touch, a suh we gonna save the country, SO USE RENEWABLE ENERGY..."
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