(orchestra) – Hi, my name is Krystal. I'm the Founder and CEO of Grouphug Solar. Our first product is a
window solar charger. So it's designed for people
who live in apartments, dorms, don't have access to their roof and want to take their
first step into solar. It's a solar panel that's
embedded inside of a bamboo frame. I chose bamboo not only because it's a fast-growing wood and sustainable, but because I think that
technology having a warmer, more human touch is really
interesting and beautiful.
And I wanted the solar panel to feel like part of someone's home, and not just like a rectangle
slapped on your window. I always try to reduce
waste as much as I can. I have this many reasonable water bottles and one day I was like,
what else can I do? And energy struck me. And I was like, huh, what would happen if I just started making my own solar panels? Anywhere there's sun or a sunny surface, there's a potential to harvest energy. All I had access to in my
apartment was my windows.
I started hacking
together some prototypes. The first few were horrible
and didn't work at all. And then I got into this design
that actually was working, and it was really exciting
because it gave me the feeling and concrete action that I'm
charging something with solar that was really powerful. We're at a place with climate change, where we need people to be
excited and going renewable. And I think if taking your phone off, is a first step in a lifetime of habits, then that's amazing. We did purposefully really try to reduce the
amount of plastic in it.
The frame is made out of bamboo, the battery is accessible
and can be replaced, I think that's really important, e-waste is such a huge problem. We ship everything a hundred
percent plastic free. I studied industrial design, so product design in school, and I actually got into sustainability because I realized how wasteful
product design really is and that a lot of product decisions and material decisions that designers make end up being reasons why
products end up in the trash, and that always really bothered me. Being a female leading a tech company, we think about technology differently. No one's ever done solar
as home decor before. And like, why the hell not? It's like, because there's a statistic
actually that like 98% of solar executives are males and we need to change that because there's so many solar
solutions out there that we probably just aren't
paying attention to.
I get some people criticizing
what a small impact it is in engineering sense and like technically, solar panels at a certain angle outside harvest most efficiently. And that's just like a fact, but it doesn't mean that
doing it a different way is nothing. Even if, you know,
you're only powering a light, like I think that's still worth it. There's beauty in taking small steps. (orchestra).