Berkeley Couple's "Solar Suitcase" Provides Power on the Go - NBC Bay Area

Berkeley Couple's "Solar Suitcase" Provides Power on the Go

The solar suitcase came out of Berkeley to save lives in Africa.



    Berkeley Couple's "Solar Suitcase" Provides Power on the Go
    The power of the sun is providing power to doctors and surgeons in developing countries thanks to a Berkeley couple's invention.

    The luggage sent overseas from a Berkeley couple's brainbox isn't merely eye-catching -- it's life-saving.

    The portable "solar suitcases" produced by Laura Stachel and Hal Aronson provided energy on the go -- but not for charging phones or running hair-dryers. The solar suitcases, which consist of a portable solar cell and accompanying medical equipment, allow hospitals in developing countries to have an always-ready power source, according to Berkeleyside.

    The solar suitcases allow surgeons to conduct life-saving procedures even in the event of a power outage, and also allow surgery or other medical activities to go on overnight or in the event of other power outages or disasters, according to the news Web site.

    The suitcases are now made in a Fremont workshop and sold under the We Care Solar moniker, according to reports.

    To date, 160 of the suitcases have been placed in 17 different countries. Each costs $1,495.

    And to great effect: In one Nigerian hospital with solar electric lighting in four wards and a solar-powered blood bank, the hospital's "maternal death rate has been reduced by 70%," according to reports.

    Another 1,120 suitcaes may soon be bought by Sierra Leone.