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Published on January 16th, 2018 | by Zachary Shahan


Inspiration Off The Chain

January 16th, 2018 by  

I sat through another Zayed Future Energy Prize awards ceremony yesterday, and it again moved me to tears. No, it’s not normal for me to be moved to tears, but the deep, powerful, inspirational change that certain finalists communicated was too much for the emotional sensors behind my eyes.

I thought I was perhaps too jet lagged and more emotional than normal, but then I talked to other level-headed, calm people and found out that they were also moved to tears.

The emotional surprise wasn’t just created by the one-way surge of inspiration from the finalists, but also from the inspiration, gratefulness, and support sent back their way by the Zayed Future Energy Prize team. Certain members of winning companies, nonprofits, and schools were so thankful for the transformations encouraged by the Zayed Future Energy Prize team that their gratefulness flowed out throughout the crowd at the awards ceremony, and then deeply touched many of us.

Winners from previous years were highlighted to show the impact they’ve continued to have in their communities since winning the prize. That included Liter of Light, Munro Academy, and Nkhata Bay School Authority.

Putting some numbers to the flash, the Zayed Future Energy Prize team noted, “Altogether, the winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize have had a positive impact on 307 million people globally in the past 10 years. As many as 8.5 million people have benefitted from training, while around 27.5 million have been introduced to renewable energy solutions through the prize. Youth-supported sustainability projects have flourished thanks to the Global High Schools winners, generating an estimated 3 million kWh of renewable energy and displacing 2,372 tonnes of carbon dioxide in total.

It’s hard to explain the inspiration that comes from deeply diving into these winners as well as the often equally inspiring finalists, interviewing the executives and students, and hearing touching story after touching story.

However, you can get a taste of it by watching the illuminating videos of this year’s finalists — approximately a dozen global high schools finalists, 3 SME finalists, and 3 nonprofit finalists. The winners of those categories are highlighted below in bold and via tweets following the video of the entire ceremony.

If you want to jump to specific sections of the 1½ hour ZFEP awards ceremony, here’s a breakdown of what’s in the video (click any of the items to jump to that point):


  • Sunna Design
  • BBOX
  • 1366 Technologies


  • Selco Foundation
  • Solar Sister
  • We Care Solar

Global High Schools — Oceania

  • Motufoua Secondary School (MSS)
  • Lowanna College
  • Tenison Woods College

Global High Schools — Asia

  • Bahrain Bayan School
  • Mahindra United World College of India (MUCWI)
  • Shenzhen Yadi School
  • Muntinlupa National High School

Global High Schools — Africa

  • Aouda Saadia School
  • Primrose Technical High School
  • Gaitheri Secondary School

Global High Schools — Americas

  • Centro Educativo Mbaracayú
  • Centro Educacional Agrourbano
  • Prof. Dimas Mozart e Silva School

Global High Schools — Europe

  • Vladimir Nazor
  • Werner Heisenberg School
  • Gomel State Regional Lyceum

The other big winners were Google, in the Large Corporation category, and LED inventor Shuji Nakamura for the Lifetime Achievement Award. I’ll have more about them in coming articles and video interviews.


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort on Tesla or any other company.

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