International Women’s Day 2017
International Women’s Day is a day where we celebrate the social, economical, cultural, and political achievements of women. International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day.
In honor of International Women’s Day (March 8th), we have written about three influential and game changing women in the solar industry. The market for solar power is fairly new relative to the many other industries that make up the energy sector. However, within the time that solar energy technologies has been around, many women have had a hand in making solar more widely available to people around the world. Not only that, but these women have used solar power to help those in need and to further push the growth of the industry.
1. Laura E. Stachel- Co-Founder and director of We CARE Solar
Dr. Stachel was an OB/GYN when she went to Northern Nigeria in 2008 to study ways to lower maternal mortality in state hospitals and was shocked at the horrid conditions in the state facilities, including sporadic electricity that impaired maternity and surgical care. Without reliable electricity, nighttime deliveries were done in almost complete darkness and cesarean sections were conducted using flashlights as the primary source of light. Not only that, but patients who needed life-saving surgeries often had to wait days for treatment, often resulting in tragic outcomes.
Saddened by what she observed, when she went home to California, where she and her husband developed what are now referred to as “Solar Suitcases,” or off-grid solar electric systems that were built inside what looked like a suitcase. The “WE CARE Solar Suitcase” powers overhead LED lighting, charges cell phones, and includes LED headlamps that come with their own rechargeable batteries. To date, approximately 300 Solar Suitcases have been assembled and sent to 25 countries around the world. Plans are under way to significantly expand regional programs in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Malawi.
2. Lynn Jurich- CEO and Co-Founder of Sunrun
As the co-founder of Sunrun, Lynn Jurich has been instrumental in making solar simpler and more affordable. Sunrun has recently acquired three companies, which are set to transform Sunrun into a vertically integrated residential PV (?) company, covering financing, solar sales, design, installation, distribution, and mounting systems. Jurich has been named to Fortune Magazine’s list of top 10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in December of 2009. Lynn continues to work today to build Sunrun and create world powered by the sun.
3. Eden Full- Founder, Roseicollis Technologies and Inventor of the SunSaluter
Currently 24 years of age, Eden Full, who studied Mechanical Engineering at Princeton University, has transformed the solar industry through her invention, which she has named SunSaluter. Her invention is a non-toxic, inexpensive, recyclable device made out of metal and bamboo that allows solar panels to follow or track the Sun without the use of an electric motor. The SunSaluter includes rotating solar panels that track the sun using mechanical water flow, giving users 40 percent more electricity and the bonus of clean water. Taking two years off of from Princeton, Eden worked in Kenya, Indonesia and Egypt to demo the SunSaluter and expand her startup, Roseicollis Technologies. While on her travels, Full noticed that without clean water or access to electricity, 3.4 million people die yearly as a result of water-related diseases. With these two problems, Full properly developed the SunSaluter and has worked to fully integrate and deploy it to developing countries around the world with the goal of reducing water-borne diseases through the filter that is built into the device. Along with this, Eden wants to reduce the payback for these systems and reduce the amount of maintenance required to keep it operational. In 2012 and 2013, Full was named one of the Top 30 Under 30 in Forbes’ energy category.
These three women are prime examples of leaders and innovators in the solar industries. Without them, millions of people would not have light, clean water or affordable solar energy for their homes. International Women’s Day is about celebrating the accomplishments of women all around the world. In terms of solar, the industry as a whole would be significantly different if it were not for the many women who have been a part of growing it to where it is today.
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