Edison International helps provide students with the tools to build solar suitcases for emergency backup power.
Submitted by Edison International
By Taylor Hillo ENERGIZED by Edison Writer
"Solar energy is the future,” said eighth-grade teacher Craig Marais from San Jacinto Leadership Academy in Riverside County. His engineering club just finished building solar suitcases as part of a hands-on educational program sponsored in part by Edison International.
The program, created by We Share Solar, provides classrooms with all the tools necessary to build a stand-alone, 12-volt DC solar power system.
“I started by teaching the students about California’s 2045 carbon neutrality goals, and once I brought out the cases, they immediately started building,” Marais said. “I’ve been teaching for more than 20 years, and I’ve never seen kids more engaged.”
The cases are designed to be used as backup power during a natural disaster or other emergency that disrupts the electricity supply.
The battery stores 84 watt-hours when fully charged. That is enough energy to provide 16 hours of light, fully charge 10 cellphones, or power a laptop for up to three hours.
Living in a high fire risk area and still recovering from last year’s fire season, San Jacinto Leadership Academy students have a vested interest in renewable energy.
“Last year, there was a really big fire here, and it knocked out our power for a long time. We couldn’t do anything, not even homework,” said Kaitlin Rodriguez, an eighth grader involved in the build. The Fairview Fire scorched thousands of acres through Riverside County, leaving the area covered in ash and without power for days. Now, with the help of newly built suitcases, the students feel more prepared to face the coming fire seasons.
The solar suitcases program originated as a humanitarian crisis relief tool and now works to bring clean energy solutions to communities impacted by disasters.
“Edison International is proud to partner with We Share Solar to promote our shared goal of advancing renewable energy,” said Alejandro Esparza, SCE principal manager for Philanthropy and Community Engagement. “We hope through this program, we can help with emergency power resources when needed, especially to our Inland Empire communities, while also inspiring more young minds to explore a career in STEM.”
One of the suitcases built by the San Bernardino students will be donated to Idyllwild Mountain Disaster Preparedness to support its emergency information and alert program while the others will be shared with neighboring science classrooms.
For more information, visit edison.com/clean-energy.
Edison International (NYSE:EIX), through its subsidiaries, is a generator and distributor of electric power and an investor in energy services and technologies, including renewable energy. Headquartered in Rosemead, Calif., Edison International is the parent company of Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities.
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