Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Greener Penn

This past summer, I interned at a local start up company that performs solar analyses of properties and develops solar related products.  Working with this company, my eyes were opened to the world of solar and the opportunities it presents to society.  Employing larger scale solar energy in a public setting not only helps the environment but also educates the general public on the benefits of solar. 

A majority of my work revolved around the development and production of a solar-powered table that charges cell phones, iPads, laptops, etc.  Without much prior solar knowledge, I delved into component research, competitive analyses, and marketing of the tables.  Initially when I took this internship, I did not see my involvement with solar going much further than the end of the summer.  However, when I returned to school, I learned about the Penn Green Fund and its efforts to make Penn a greener university.  The Green Fund offers grants up to $50,000 for the execution of project proposals aiming to improve Penn’s environmental performance that their committee deems promising and valid.

After learning about this chance to make Penn greener while simultaneously providing great exposure and ample opportunity for my former internship company, I decided to submit my own proposal for four of the solar tables to be installed on Penn’s campus.  After performing site evaluations around Penn, I hope to install the tables in Penn Park to provide both seating and power to those involved in activities on the east side of campus.  Only time will tell if my proposal will be approved, and I am excited to see what the future holds.  In the meantime, I am happy to simply continue interacting with my former internship company.  I barely knew anything about solar power before my internship, and it required a lot of me to step outside of my comfort zone and take a job I was not familiar with in the least.  Looking back, however, I am so glad I took that chance because it opened up so many opportunities, like Penn’s Green Fund proposal, for me to pursue.

Questions for Kristen?  Email her at awe@seas.upenn.edu

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