Solar Cart project powers up renewable energy education

July 10, 2015  |   |  3 Comments
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ESW members debuted the Solar Cart at Kapiʻolani CC’s Earth Day. From top left to right: Steve Carlson of Solar Cool, Jason Salseg, William Kaeo, and Jackson Poscablo

ESW members debuted the Solar Cart at Kapiʻolani CC’s Earth Day. From top left to right: Steve Carlson of Solar Cool, Jason Salseg, William Kaeo, and Jackson Poscablo


At first glance, the Solar Cart, built by the Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) Hawaiʻi team at Kapiʻolani Community College, appears to be a simple set up of two ordinary solar panels propped up against a wooden chest. But upon closer inspection, the cart is actually a student and faculty-designed solar power apparatus with the ability to provide 500 watts/hour of solar AC power.

ESW, headed by Kapiʻolani CC engineering and physics professor Aaron Hanai and biochemistry professor Harry Davis, challenged students and faculty to think about how science, technology, engineering and mathematics can be applied towards building a more sustainable campus.

“The project was intended to engage ESW members in renewable energy design, real life project-based deadlines, basic material science engineering, structural engineering as well as make lasting connections with community partners that are actively engaged in the sustainable engineering field in Hawaiʻi,” said ESW member Jason Salseg. “The solar cart also served as an avenue for members to introduce ESW to Kapiʻolani CC campus students and faculty to open dialogue about the importance of engineering in addressing challenges the global community faces in sustainability.”

“Projects like the Kapiʻolani CC Solar Cart are a vital part of the university’s larger strategy to improve sustainability and sustainability education because they offer us the ability to enhance students’ learning experience through solving real-world challenges that directly impact our campuses,” said UH System Sustainability Coordinator Matthew Lynch. “These small-scale pilot projects also allow us to test innovative technologies and ideas to develop viable solutions that can be deployed at larger scales.”

ESW’s Solar Cart project was sponsored by Solar Cool Hawaiʻi, All-Build Construction, Universal Manufacturers and Re-use Hawaiʻi. The team is currently working to re-purpose the solar cart to be a permanent fixture at Kapiʻolani CC’s loʻi kalo that will provide power for the loʻi’s pump system.

About Engineers for a Sustainable World Hawaiʻi

The Engineers for a Sustainable World Hawaiʻi Chapter at Kapiʻolani CC was founded to actively engage Hawaiʻi student engineers with pre-college students, University of Hawaiʻi faculty, the local community and all STEM departments to initiate conversation on, design and implement projects of varying scope that directly address creating a more sustainable campus, local and global way of life.

For more, visit the ESW Hawaiʻi Facebook page.

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    E HOʻOMAIKAʻI ANA ia ʻoukou!

    This is the step that everyone needs to be taking in the world.

    If Every home had something like this, they would be able to survive without generators and other costly things that most of the Kanaka cannot afford in the first place.

    I hope that you can make a copywrite or something and sell the plans because I have 38 in my household and have lived through 2 hurricanes struggling with my 7 children now with 18 grandchildren too.

    We would surely be able to build one with the diverse talents in our ʻohana because everyone is a “jack of all trades” and a master of none.

    I am the first one able to go to college at 50. My two daughter in laws have liberal arts degrees and other than that, we all just have work experience in the real world.

    But this project that you folks have created would be just as important as our hulihuli machine, our poi grinder, our pakini, and our toolshed.

    Because this would help our ʻohana connect with the modern amenities that we need when there is no other source available.

    Hūlō Hūlo Hūlō!

    Iesū pū, aloha.

    Tūtū Māmā Uʻilani Kūhaulua

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