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Recap: Energy Voices Episode 17 - Sun Saluter

5 minutes to read

This week on Energy Voices,  Student Energy interviewed a young energy entrepreneur about her company Sun Saluter and their ingenious technology that increases the efficiency of solar in the developing world.  This was followed up by an interview with a first-year university student who got first hand experience with energy development by interned at Sun Saluter in Malawi.  The final interview provides a physicians perspective on ending fossil fuel use. 


Interview #1 - Eden Full, Sun Saluter

Who is Eden? Eden Full is a software/mechanical engineer interested in building products to solve society’s biggest problems.  She is the inventor of Sun Saluter, an ultra low-cost, passive, single-axis solar panel rotator (called a tracker).  Eden was named one of the 30 under 30 in Forbes’ Energy category three years in a row, one of the US Chamber of Commerce’s IP Champions and Ashoka’s Youth Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Eden was a member of the Thiel Fellowship’s inaugural class. Proudly Canadian, she studied at Princeton University. To give back for all of the support she has received over the years, Eden speaks about her experiences in schools and youth programs everywhere from West Philadelphia to rural Indonesia.

What's her story? Eden takes Energy Voices into the world of real world implementation of a renewable energy idea.  Eden had been experimenting with solar systems for years but it wasn't until a stint in Kenya that she saw the operational challenges of maintenance and sourcing materials that she came up with the idea for Sun Saluter.  Sun Saluter uses products that can be found in almost any village.  It is also a gravity based system meaning it has very little in the way of complex parts or needs for maintenance. AND it produces clean water in the process of its operation.  Eden shares her journey with us and what she has learned about implementing big ideas in the real world. 

Interview #2 - Kabir Nadkarni, Student at the University of Alberta

Who is Kabir?  Kabir is studying Engineering Physics (Co-op) at the University of Alberta as a Loran Scholar '14. He has interests in energy and climate, outside-the-classroom STEM educational outreach, and urban transportation systems. He has played substantial leadership roles in non-profits like Science Expo and the Canadian Cancer Society, as well as initiated an invention-based start-up called VISIBL (Patent pending). 

What's his story? In the summer of 2015, Kabir took on an internship with Sun Saluter in Malawi. Working on this unique initiative led him to seeing first hand what it takes to move an idea from paper to practice.  He shares his experiences of sourcing suppliers, getting the right people on side and building solutions on the fly. 

At the end of his interview, Kabir shares his experience at the 2015 International Student Energy Summit in Bali, Indonesia.  His highlights included meeting likeminded students and being connected to the Amsterdam Smart City initiative. 

You can watch select videos from the 2015 ISES program on our Youtube channel.

Interview # 3 - Joe Vipond, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians

Who is Joe? Joe Vipond works currently as an emergency physician at the Foothills Medical Centre and the Peter Lougheed Hospitali in Calgary, Alberta.  His interest in the environment began at a young age with the many hikes and natural explorations, and solidified further when he worked for three years at Dinosaur Provincial Park, two as a park interpreter.  More recently he has been chair of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians national conference in 2009, and highly involved in the reestablishment of the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Farmers' Market.  More recently, his interest has turned back to the environment, having been on the CPAWS Conservation Committee for the last two years, and, since 2012, a member of the Coal Network, a group of Non-profits and individuals working towards eliminating coal-fired power plants from the Alberta landscape. 

What's his story? Joe comes at energy from a very different angle than most.  Joe is a physician who is trying to bring awareness to the health impacts of fossil fuels, coal in particular.  He argues that thinking about the negative impacts of fossil fuels is not a thought exercise for the future but rather a reality we face today.  We can tackle health issues while simultaneously addressing climate change if we get serious about phasing out coal.  Read more research about the health impacts of coal here

Don't forget to tune in the last Tuesday of every month at 8pm MT on CJSW for Energy Voices or subscribe to our podcast on SoundCloud.