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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Two UAE schools could win photovoltaic panels in Sustainability Champions competition 

Entries are open now for Expo 2020 Dubai award, which will reward education insititutions working on innovative projects to fight climate change

Each school will get Dh500,000-worth of photovoltaic panels to give students a better understanding of energy saving. Alamy
Each school will get Dh500,000-worth of photovoltaic panels to give students a better understanding of energy saving. Alamy

Two UAE schools could win an Expo 2020 award and a share of Dh1 million-worth of photovoltaic panels for their building as a reward for working on innovative projects to fight climate change, it was announced on Monday.

Installing Dh500,000-worth of panels per school will give the students a better understanding of energy saving and provide them with invaluable data and information on solar power.

“We are looking outside the Expo site at youth to engage them in a Sustainability Champions’ competition,” said Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, executive director of the Expo 2020 Bureau, which coordinates Expo projects across governmental entities.

The Sustainability Champions competition and panels will be sponsored by Expo 2020 as part of its overall aim to inspire young residents across the nation.

Any school in the UAE is eligible for the competition, which has been organised by the Expo in coordination with the Ministry of Climate Change and the Ministry of Education.

The names of the winning schools will be announced on April 22 to coincide with Earth Day.

Photovoltaic or PV panels directly convert the sun's light into electricity, whereas traditional solar panels use light to create heat to run an engine which then turns a generator to make electricity.

“These two schools will benefit from the panels that will reduce the emissions from the school and will also reduce their overall consumption from the grid,” said Mr Al-Ali.

“The schools will have first-hand experience when they see the panels on the rooftops. This will hopefully get many children interested in sustainability. They will also get access to material and manuals on sustainability that we as Expo will provide for the students and teachers because we are looking at this as an opportunity to spread awareness and learning. The ultimate goal is for the children, the future generation of the UAE, to benefit.”

Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said the competition aimed to raise an environmentally responsible generation that was in keeping with the UAE’s Founding Father Sheikh Zayed, who stressed the importance of preserving the country’s natural resources.

“The programme offers students an opportunity to become real partners and actively participate in developing sustainable solutions,” he said while announcing the competition at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

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Read more:

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Jameela Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education, said educating students about the environment topped the ministry’s agenda.

“Different curriculum areas have been enriched with concepts related to sustainability to raise students’ awareness of the importance of the country’s future projects. As a result, the future generation will enjoy a better sustainable life and safeguard it for the generations to follow,” she said.

The five criteria that the schools will be evaluated on include their commitment, achievements so far, how they engage with green initiatives, the institution’s vision and details on innovations they may have already implemented.

The school must also clearly outline the budget to develop and grow current conservation projects.

The competition aims to reward schools already making a difference and challenge other educational institutions to take part in green programmes.

The judging panel will comprise of education and sustainability leaders and Expo 2020 partners.

The applications can be in Arabic or English and schools can submit enquiries via email to sustainability.champions@expo2020.ae and participate by submitting applications through an online portal by 1 April.