Posted on August 3, 2015

PG&E Grows Solar and Promotes STEM with Solar Suitcase Program

By Nicole Liebelt

SAN FRANCISCO — PG&E today (Aug. 3) selected 19 Northern and Central California schools to participate in the inaugural year of the Solar Suitcase Program. Under the program, students will build portable solar units, share their commitment to sustainability by participating in local projects and have an opportunity to share the solar suitcases with students in Kenya.

Students from Stockton and Sacramento help assemble a solar suitcase with Hal Aronson, the man who invented the technology, during a demonstration at the state Capitol last year. (Photo by David Kligman.)

Announced at We Day California earlier this year, the program is part of the company’s $250,000 sponsorship to provide sustainable energy project opportunities for local high schools. California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom helped launch We Day California 2015 and is a key partner in supporting the PG&E’s Solar Suitcase Program.

“I’m thrilled that PG&E is using solar to help students create lasting and sustainable action in California and abroad,” Newsom said. “This is a unique opportunity for students to combine environmental stewardship and technology, and to then share their experiences globally with students in Kenya.”

The We Share Solar Suitcase is a portable photovoltaic lighting system, powerful enough to illuminate a small room. PG&E is supplying 100 Solar Suitcase units to 19 high schools throughout Northern and Central California. We Share Solar will offer trainings on how to assemble the suitcases so that students can learn firsthand the basic principles of clean energy technical education.

“PG&E is a champion of education, providing nearly $70 million to local schools throughout Northern and Central California over the last decade,” said Helen Burt, senior vice president of corporate affairs for PG&E. “The Solar Suitcase program allows us to pair that commitment with our focus on a clean energy future. By educating students on the importance of solar, we can both inspire them, and provide them with valuable tools for making an impact in their local communities and around the world.”

Students from Venture Academy in Stockton attended PG&E's Solar Suitcase Program announcement in San Jose in February. (Photo by Matt Nauman.)

Encouraging students to “act locally and think globally,” PG&E’s program includes both a local sustainability project and international community service opportunity. Examples of local sustainability projects include park cleanups, water and energy conservation teams, and community gardens.

The international opportunity offers students from the 19 schools the chance to join a humanitarian solar suitcase delivery mission to orphanages, schools and medical clinics in Kenya with international charity Free the Children. Four students will be selected based on videos they submit of their own local sustainability project success stories. This unique global opportunity for local high school students adds a new dimension to PG&E’s commitment to education and renewable energy.

Here is the full list of PG&E Solar Suitcase Program schools:

  • Stockdale High School (Bakersfield)
  • Inspire High School (Chico)
  • Konocti Education Center High School (Clearlake)
  • Cloverdale High School (Cloverdale)
  • Buchanan High School (Clovis)
  • Herbert Hoover High School (Fresno)
  • Cesar Chavez Middle School (Hayward)
  • Tennyson High School (Hayward)
  • Yosemite High School (Merced)
  • Oakland High School (Oakland)
  • Orcutt Academy High School (Orcutt)
  • Folsom High School (Rancho Cordova)
  • Foothill High School (Sacramento)
  • Salinas High School (Salinas)
  • Willie L. Brown Jr. Middle School (San Francisco)
  • Lincoln High School (San Francisco)
  • Leland High School (San Jose)
  • Amos Alonzo Stagg High School (Stockton)
  • Templeton High School (Templeton)

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"PG&E" refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.
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