Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced recently a $400,000 grant that will put more than 100 portable solar kits into the hands of 2,000 students through central and northern California. Students will build portable solar units, participate in local sustainability projects and advance energy equity globally by providing clean, reliable power to energy-scarce regions of the world. “PG&E Solar Suitcase students have the opportunity to explore and learn about key renewable energy sources in a way that is both educational and meaningful. Not only do students learn interactively about STEM concepts, but they also make significant impacts locally and globally by providing entire communities with easy access to clean energy,” said Ananda Baron, senior director of Community Relations.
The kits, which are supplied by the nonprofit, We Share Solar, are small, portable photovoltaic lighting systems, powerful enough to illuminate a classroom. Teachers will be trained to teach their students about designing solar electric systems and give them the hands-on experience of assembling the Solar Suitcase kits. Participating student groups will be invited to submit videos of their own local sustainability projects to a program-wide video contest. Winning schools and organizations will have the opportunity to send two student representatives, accompanied by a teacher, to deliver solar suitcases to schools and community-based organizations in rural Ecuador with the nonprofit WE Charity. Additional suitcases will be sent to Kenya and other energy-scarce regions around the world.
“The We Share Solar team has been inspired by PG&E’s partnership with our organization to provide innovative, engaging STEM learning to students and teachers. The global service component of the program continues to be a source of inspiration for the next generation to realize that they can make a tangible difference by applying engineering to solve a real-world problem,” said Hal Aronson, co-founder and director of education and technology for We Share Solar.
Since its inception in 2015, the PG&E Solar Suitcase program has:
Trained and supported 37 teachers across Northern and Central California
Educated 2,015 Californian students on sustainable energy
Delivered clean, renewable energy to 15,000 Kenyan students.
How to apply: The deadline to apply for your school or organization is May 24, 2017. Winners will be notified by June 7. For more information and to apply, visit pge.com/solarsuitcase.
B-Roll and interviews from students and teachers who participated in last year’s program are available upon request.
PG&E’s broader Better Together Giving Program further demonstrates the company’s commitment to building a better future together. With a focus on education, economic vitality, the environment and emergency preparedness, PG&E is aligning charitable resources with the company’s values. Working closely with local community organizations, PG&E is helping to create a strong, resilient and sustainable California. Community investments are funded entirely by the company’s shareholders.