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Solar Energy for Ella Drua

In 2008, the Widener chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) set out on a mission: To bring electricity to Ella Drua, a small village in Panama. So began Project SEED(Solar Energy for Ella Drua).

In March 2013 that mission was completed. For two weeks during winter break 2012, the students built the infrastructure for batteries and solar sites. Then over spring break they mounted and wired solar panels, charging stations, and batteries, and finally, running the electrical service through the 20-plus homes in Ella Drua – enough to power a television, laptop, cell phone charger, and electricity for five hours a day.

The idea for Project SEED was sown when Widener alumna Alyssa Eagan, '05 – who was living in Ella Drua on a Peace Corps assignment – connected with the engineering students. “Our goal from day one was to help provide necessities for the families, including having reading light for children to do their homework,” said Andy Nodolski, a lab technician in the School of Engineering and advisor to the EWB.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Shawn Paul, '14, a junior civil engineering major with a minor in environmental science, who joined the EWB chapter as a freshman. “I’ve been working on [Project SEED] my whole college career.” For Paul, the EWB experience helped him discover a passion for civil engineering as well as for helping others on a global scale.

  • ewb
    Photograph by Beatriz Urraca
  • ewb
    Photograph by Beatriz Urraca
  • ewb
    Photograph by Beatriz Urraca