To honor their innovative efforts, the couple has been awarded a Solar Flare Award by Soluxe Energy Solutions, a Connecticut-based energy advisor that helps homeowners lower monthly utility bills.
"We were thrilled to see stories of the solar-powered suitcase on CNN and PBS," said Jeffrey Mayer, CEO of Soluxe, "and we wanted to recognize Dr. Laura Stachel and Hal Aronson for their pioneering efforts to harness the sun's energy to save lives."
Dr. Stachel has estimated that over 300,000 health care facilities worldwide do not have adequate electricity. She herself experienced the potential dangers of electric outages when the lights went out during a cesarean section procedure she was observing in Nigeria.
Working with her husband, a solar energy educator, Dr. Stachel created portable "solar suitcases" that deliver electricity and recharge batteries, designed for use in harsh environments.
"Their innovative use of solar power addresses a life-threatening problem and stands as an inspiring example of how new ways of thinking about energy can improve the quality of life in the remotest parts of the globe," said Mayer
One of the hospitals that received solar suitcases reported that the death rate for women had decreased by a staggering 70% in the following year.
Dramatic outcomes like this led the couple to form a non-profit entity, We Care Solar, which now provides reliable solar energy kits to healthcare facilities throughout Africa, Asia and Central America.
Based in Darien, Connecticut, Soluxe helps homeowners reduce their monthly utility costs by installing rooftop solar and other energy efficiency technologies, often with traditional financing that requires no up front expenditures.
"While we cannot claim to save lives like Dr. Stachel and Mr. Aronson," Mayer said, "we can claim to improve household budgets so families are free to direct their disposable income to more important priorities.
"Energy efficiency approaches like rooftop solar are now affordable for most American homeowners, and our job is to educate consumers about how to find the right solution and the right contractor for their needs."