Bermuda schools enter solar energy challenge

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A link-up between DHL Express and schools in Bermuda could see students create a portable, low-cost solar energy solutions that can be implemented for less than $50,000, Bermuda’s Royal Gazette reports.

Secondary school students have been challenged to invent a solar-powered solution that would go some way to reducing DHL’s carbon footprint.

There is a $10,000 prize for the winning team. The contest encompasses Bermuda, the Bahamas and Cayman Islands.

Andwele Simons, sales manager for DHL in Bermuda, said the contest fits in with the company’s philosophy of being part of its local community. In Bermuda that already means involvement in a number of sporting endeavours.

Regarding the DHL Solar Grand Challenge, he said: “We are sponsoring this event to show community responsibility and support, and because we are aware of the global carbon footprint the company has.”

The logistics, delivery and shipping company has a presence in more than 220 countries.

“The STEMboard is encouraging students to come up with a solution that we can use in our depots in the Caribbean,” he said, adding that it was an opportunity for young students, who are the island’s future engineers and innovators, to highlight their abilities.

A handful of students from Berkeley Institute and CedarBridge Academy have entered, and there is still time for other schools to get involved.

Llewellyn Simmons, director of academics with the Ministry of Education, said there are many benefits to be gained from the corporate world linking up with students and schools.

He said the competition would stretch students minds, and get them to put their Stem capabilities — the acronym stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics — to full use.

Although Dr Simmons said he did not know what ideas the students would be pursuing as they try to win the competition, but said it would be a valuable experience.

“It’s a great opportunity for us as a department to expend Stem education,” he said, adding that the contest was a good example of how students, schools, Bermuda College and businesses can work together in innovative and productive ways.

“To have businesses as part of an educational endeavour is without doubt something we want to see.”

The DHL Solar Grand Challenge was created through a partnership between DHL and technology solutions company STEMBoard. The programme will conclude with a solar energy education track and pitch competition at the technology camp in Nassau, in July.

There is a chance the winning solar-powered solution will be used by DHL Express.

Aisha Bowe, co-founder of STEMBoard, said: “We are excited to partner with DHL Express to continue to bring world-class opportunities to the youth of the Caribbean.

“This year’s camp leverages international experts in engineering and entrepreneurship to encourage and foster the development of renewable energy initiatives.”

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