Charlotte-Mecklenburg Students Help Light the World, Thanks to Innovative ‘Solar Suitcase’ Program

Approximately 1 billion people on our planet have no electricity, and almost one out of three children (188 million) attend a school without electricity. Charlotte youth will help change some of that in this school year.

With a shared global vision, Wells Fargo and the former CEO of Duke Energy, Jim Rogers, and his wife, M.A. Rogers, have made it possible to bring the “We Share Solar” program to 20 Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools 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.

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.

“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.”

CMS teachers , along with Wells Fargo volunteers, are teaching students how to build “We Share” solar suitcases that will be deployed to Kenya.

“I’m excited about teaching the ‘We Share’ solar program, because I am always looking for opportunities to bring real-world examples and experiences to my students. It is important to me for them to interact with science, not just learn it,” said Jazzmin Oates, earth and environmental science teacher at North Mecklenburg High School.

Careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM] are projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022 — an increase of about 1 million jobs. 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.

“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.”


In addition, the Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council’sGirls Go Beyond program participated in a “We Share Solar” event in September, led by Wells Fargo’s Green Team volunteers, to build expansion kits which will provide additional lighting for the classrooms in Kenya.

“It is critical for girls to participate in STEM in a hands-on way in order to spark interest and provide experience for the future,” said Angela Woods, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts, Hornets’ Nest Council. “Thanks to this program, several girls were provided with a connection between building a solar device to the mission of Girl Scouting – to make the world a better place.”

“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. More than 7,000 students from the United States have participated in We Share Solar programs. To learn more about We Share Solar, visit

Content provided by We Share Solar.