Charlotte Mecklenburg Students Help Light the World with Solar Suitcase initiative that combines STEM education with global citizenship


Approximately one billion people on our planet have no electricity while almost one out of three children (188 million) attend a school without electricity. Charlotte youth will help reduce those numbers in the coming school year.

With a shared global vision, Wells Fargo and the former CEO of Duke Energy, Jim Rogers, with his wife M.A. Rogers, are joining efforts to bring We Share Solar® to 20 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) during the 2018-2019 school year. We Share Solar is an innovative, educational program dedicated to inspiring students to learn about, build and share Solar Suitcases with the developing world.

In a two-day workshop on July 24-25th, CMS teachers andWells Fargo volunteers will be trained to assist students in building 40 We Share Solar Suitcases that will be deployed to Kenya. The suitcases are small, portable photovoltaic lighting systems, powerful enough to illuminate two to three classrooms and charge devices such as mobile phones or tablets. “The We Share Solar program is inspiring students through hands-on STEM education and lights up the lives of youth in places that receive the suitcases,” said Hal Aronson, co-founder of We Share Solar and inventor of the Solar Suitcase. “Through making a global connection, it is motivating students to be change-makers in the world.”

The Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council – Girls Go Beyond program will also participate in a We Share Solar activity to build expansion kits providing additional lighting in the classrooms. “Without electricity, everything is harder. As a fundamental human right, everyone should have access to a steady and reliable supply of power”, said Jim Rogers, author of Lighting the World: Transforming our energy future by bringing electricity to everyone. “M.A. and I also have a passion for building a pipeline of girls and under-represented youth in STEM fields. Students from all cultures and demographics should have the opportunity to participate in this program.”

Careers in STEM are projected to grow to more than nine million between 2012 and 2022 – an increase of about one million jobs over 2012. In conjunction with the We Share Solar program, students will have the opportunity to learn more about STEM careers from leaders in the community during National STEM Day on November 8, 2018.

“As a national sponsor of the We Share Solar program, we have been able to open new doors for students by championing an unforgettable learning experience through a curriculum including global energy poverty, basic electricity, solar energy, and engineering,” said CaSondra Devine, Wells Fargo Sustainability Initiatives Leader. “We support the implementation of the We Share Solar program in locations like London, Canada, San Francisco, and now in collaboration with Jim & M.A. Rogers, in Charlotte. We continue to be inspired by the impact of providing light to those in need while fostering a generation of leaders focused on global citizenship, financial literacy, and careers in STEM.”

This program is made possible by the Wells Fargo Foundation, the lead sponsor for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Solar Suitcase Program in the 2018-2019 school year, and Jim and M.A. Rogers.

More About We Share Solar
We Share Solar is the educational program of We Care Solar, a Berkeley, California-based nonprofit dedicated to bringing light and power to the developing world. Since 2013, We Share Solar has deployed more than 500 Solar Suitcases benefiting 80,000 youth. Over 7,000 students from the United States have participated in We Share Solar programs. To learn more about We Share Solar, please visit or call (510) 766-0206.

MoreAbout the CMS Program
Through an application process, the twenty CMS schools selected toparticipate include four K-8 schools, eleven middle schools and five high schools -half of these are designated as Title I.

Teachers from the participating CMS schools will receive a two-dayprofessional development training on July 24 – 25. They will each receive more than $8,000 worth of equipment to provide students with an engaging, flexible STEM program.

Complete list of CMS participating schools:

Marie G. Davis School (K-8)
Walter G. Byers School (K-8)
West Charlotte High School
East Mecklenburg High School
Druid Hills Academy (K-8)
Sedgefield Middle School
Eastway Middle School
Hopewell High School
McClintock Middle School
Collinswood Language Academy
MLK Jr. Middle School
Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology High School
Whitewater Middle School
Kennedy Middle School
Ridge Road Middle
Carmel Middle
Mint Hill Middle School
North Meck High School
Bailey Middle School
JT Williams Secondary Montessori Middle School