The Basement's Baja Del Sol
A team of UC San Diego students are working on a project that will help underprivileged orphanages throughout Baja California, Mexico save money and better serve the children that they shelter. Every quarter, the team of Jacobs School of Engineering students travels to Tijuana to install high-quality, low-cost solar water heaters in orphanages, replacing systems that are typically old and grossly inefficient.
The Baja Del Sol Water Heater project implements a sustainable energy solution that minimizes a taxing operating expense for orphanages. Where a typical thermal water collector can cost up to $2,000, the technology being designed by UC San Diego undergraduates only costs around $180 to make. “Our system is simple and it works really well,” says Joanne Hsu ’18, team lead during the spring quarter.
The Basement, one of UC San Diego’s student business incubators, provides resources and mentorship to this student-run solar water heating venture that also explores UV water purification and inexpensive filtration methods. Two critical health and safety concerns for Mexican children.
The project has expanded to support educational and community outreach projects as well.
“During one of our installation days, we invited two older kids to help us with the installation,” Hsu said. “One of them said they want to go to engineering school afterward.”
Also in the works is the development of a low-cost water purification system. Through their efforts, the Baja Del Sol team is contributing to an environment where children living in orphanages can prosper.