Every year, teams of UC Berkeley M.Eng students work together to engineer solutions to fill industry, market or societal needs. This year the Eco-solar team, Mechanical Engineering students Haixu Yim, Keyo Wang, David Zhang, Pol Molinas, and Industrial Engineering and Operations Research student Shikhar Verma, plan to disrupt the solar energy market with their new solar umbrella idea.
The idea was born through a “Capstone Tools” course and a human-centered design class with professor Alice Agogino. In March, the Eco-Solar umbrella project was finalized. The team’s prototype will be released for public viewing during the MEng Capstone showcase in May.
The eco-solar umbrella is an umbrella with solar panels attached to the top surface area of the umbrella. The solar energy gained is stored inside a batter and can be used by plugging in your device to an outlet at the base of the umbrella. Currently, up to four devices can be charged at once and they aim to keep costs below $250 ot be competitive against regular outlet charging rates. Currently, the team is testing the umbrella for resilience against wind and rain. Be sure to attend the Capstone Showcase to see Eco-solar’s prototype and other M.Eng Capstone projects!