Photo credit: SunSaluter
SunSaluter founder, Eden Full, is a young entrepreneur with a dream to tackle climate change in a big way.
SunSaluter has humble beginnings as a science fair research project back in 2008 when Eden was a teenager in Calgary, Canada. Eden’s product tackled two very important problems in one low-cost technology: the solar panel rotator is able to boost energy efficiency by 30%, while also producing four liters of clean drinking water every day.
It wasn’t until 2011, after Eden won the Thiel Fellowship, a program that allowed her to take two years off from her undergraduate program at Princeton to focus on her idea, that she realized the full potential that this technology could have on the developing world, and she started to grow the project.
She met Jake Schual-Berke, the current Chief Operating Officer of SunSaluter, who is a chemistry graduate from Pomona College and has beginnings in Washington State. He told us that it was while he was in a remote village in the Philippines that he realized he “wanted to spend his life bringing human-centered technology to those who need it most.”
SunSaluter and Eden have achieved many successes over the years and have been recognized by many news outlets including NPR, The New York Times, Forbes, and others. Eden was named one of the 30 under 30 in Forbes’ Energy category three years in a row, and was also honored as one of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Intellectual Property Champions and Ashoka’s Youth Social Entrepreneur of the Year.
Eden, Jake, & the SunSaluter team
Given Eden’s engineering background, she thinks that developing new technologies will be key to solving climate change, but also tackling how climate change is perceived on a global scale will be extremely important if we hope to move forward.Eden and Jake decided to take SunSaluter to the next step after hearing about the Climate CoLab on Twitter, and submitted a proposal to the 2015 Energy-Water Nexus contest. They won the Judges’ Choice award for this contest, and were awarded with the $10,000 Grand Prize for their idea at this year’s Crowds & Climate Conference.
“At the Crowds & Climate conference earlier this month, we discussed the importance of leaving behind a better world for our grandchildren,” she mentioned, “I would like my family to remember me as someone who did everything I could to contribute.”
The Climate CoLab gave Eden and Jake a way to refine their project, but they were also inspired by the Climate CoLab community as a whole. “Learning more about the Climate CoLab community’s proposed solutions by reading their submissions has been very inspiring, and it gave our team the motivation to throw our idea into the ring as well,” she said.
When Eden isn’t building products to solve the world’s biggest problem, she told us that she is an avid public speaker, talking “about her experiences in schools and youth programs everywhere, from West Philadelphia to rural Indonesia.”
|SunSaluter: a solar panel rotator that is able to boost energy efficiency by 30%, while also producing four liters of clean drinking water every day
Photo credit: SunSaluter
“SunSaluters have been deployed in sixteen countries and counting. We hope to continue expandingthis number, as well as reaching more entrepreneurs and communities with our work,” she mentioned.
Eden also included that the prize money will make a huge difference for their growth. “We recently decided that SunSaluter will become a fully volunteer-led non-profit organization, with for-profit partners. This [prize money] will go towards new research and development, and will continue to sustain our non-profit outreach.”
SunSaluters are now available for purchase anywhere in the world as a Do-It-Yourself Kit, and you can submit a purchase inquiry right on their website.
Eden enthusiastically added, “We’re always looking for new partners, ambassadors and manufacturers to talk to. If you would like to deploy a SunSaluter, please let us know!”
Check out the winning proposal here.