Students deliver portable solar units to communities in Kenya

/ 01:20 AM March 11, 2017

High school students Amy Hua (right) and Kyle Mondina delivered portable solar panels to beneficiaries in Kenya. CONTRIBUTED

SAN JOSE, California — Two San Jose students recently returned from a 12-day service-learning trip to deliver We Share Solar Suitcases to Kenyan youth in need of lighting and share sustainable energy education.

We Share Solar Suitcases is part of PG&E’s Better Together Classroom Grants

The students, Amy Hua and Kyle Mondina, are juniors at Independence High School. Along with other students at Independence, Hua and Mondina built several We Share Solar Suitcases, portable solar units powerful enough to illuminate a small room.

Two of the suitcases that the students built were delivered to communities in Kenya, now enabling people in those communities to run businesses, charge their cell phones and light their studies and medical procedures after dark. The high school students’ teacher, Jordan Stone, accompanied them on the trip.


“The experience was as amazing and beautiful as I expected it to be. From learning about rural Kenya to learning about solar energy – it was all great. Seeing the impact one solar suitcase could do for an entire community was amazing,” said Hua.

“It has been such an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Kenyan people were so welcoming; they welcomed us with a clapping song. It was a very humbling experience,” said Mondina.

Hua and Mondina were selected from nearly 500 Solar Suitcase program participants. Participants built the solar suitcase kits, shared their commitment to sustainability and have now earned an opportunity to share their knowledge internationally.

Selection for the international travel opportunity was competitive and required student video submissions of local sustainability projects. Examples of local sustainability projects included park cleanups, water and energy conservation teams and community gardens.

PG&E covered all expenses for the 12-day trip, led by the international non-profit WE Charity, including: airfare, meals, accommodations, special excursions and passport/visa fees for students and chaperones, and substitute teacher reimbursement.

In partnership with the nonprofit We Care Solar, PG&E provided more than 100 We Share Solar Suitcases to 19 high schools throughout Northern and Central California. We Care Solar offered trainings on how to assemble the suitcases so that students learned the basic principles of clean energy technical education.

You can learn more about the Solar Suitcase program by visiting

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TAGS: Independence High School, PG&E, PG&E’s Better Together Classroom Grants, portable energy source, renewable energy, sustainable energy, We Care Solar, WE Charity, WE Share Solar Suitcases
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