(Lander, WY) – Pathfinder High School students in Samuel Hartpence’s math class had a fun, impactful lesson last week, as folks from the Lander Rotary stopped by to help teach them how to convert old solar panels into cell phone chargers for folks in Ukraine.
Hartpence shared that he has students in this class and his robotics club that “love to tinker,” so when he found out about his former teacher Ken Schreuder spearheading the project, it seemed like a great fit.
Schreuder, a retired engineer and Rotarian, said that this has been an ongoing project for the Rotary ever since they found out about a similar project in Colorado last year.
Schreuder explained that these solar panels have reached the end of their commercial lives, but can be turned into chargers that charge two to four cell phones in about two hours, just by adding a simple converter.
“We’re doing this because the people in Ukraine rely on their cell phones for their lifeline,” Schreuder also explained. “These allow them to charge their cell phones and not rely on the power grid, which is very unstable.”
Hartpence shared that in addition to learning how to convert the panels, students are also writing notes of encouragement in both English and Ukrainian on the back of the panels.
The cost of attaching a voltage converter to a panel and shipping to Ukraine comes out to less than $150 per panel, and folks can help out by donating to the Lander Rotary Club, P.O. Box 502, Lander, WY 82520.
You can also email Schreuder at [email protected] for more information.