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Solar Suitcase Project Brings Hands-on Training to Teen Mother’s Program

Posted by: april
May 13, 2011

Soozie LindbloomBy Soozie Lindbloom
Solar Energy International Solar Suitcase Instructor

This April, Solar Energy International worked once again with the Teen Parent Program at Yampah Mountain High School in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, to build solar suitcases for health clinics in areas of the world with little-to-no access to electricity.

These solar suitcases are stand-alone photovoltaic systems that fit - you guessed it - in a suitcase. They are designed to provide reliable electricity for critical lighting and communication needs withSolar Energy International Solar Suitcase Trainingin the clinics.

The class was full with 10 young mothers from the Teen Parent Program and three additional students interested in the project. They first learned about the impact that energy use has on the planet and all of the life that it supports while focusing on the importance of energy conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy. They learned about basics of electricity, how to wire low-voltage PV modules, and how to read multi-meters. The final hands-on project involved wiring the solar suitcase systems with special attention to craftsmanship.

The beauty of this service-learning project is that it empowered the students to make positive change with their own two hands while merging math and science with technology. Additionally, the solar suitcases were originally developed to reverse the high rates of maternal mortality in areas without electricity ... Mothers helping mothers.
Solar Energy International Solar Suitcase Training
The workshop was so inspiring to one of the teen mothers, she wrote to the solar suitcase recipient community:

"Thank you for letting us be a part of your lives. We hope that the solar suitcases will arrive in good hands, and help save all patients, especially mothers and infants. I'm grateful to be a part of this project. No matter the distance, what country we might be from, we all can give a helping hand to those that need it.

I'm a mother, I'm very grateful for my daughter and for her health. I hope and wish this will help save children in need. Having my child was a huge gift in my life. I will die for her. Seeing what mothers go through without light, I can't imagine where they get that kind of strength. It's amazing and astonishing. It makes me feel so happy to see that there's a way to stop losing children and mothers. Thank you."

This summer, Solar Energy International is offering an accredited Solar Suitcase Training for educators and any adult wishing to learn how to build this system and bring this project to their schools and communities from June 27-29 in Carbondale, Colorado. To find out more and to register, click here.

If you would like to learn more about SEI's Solar Suitcase educational program, please e-mail SEI at  or call (970) 963-8855.

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