The Solar Army Across the World

The Solar Army has many branches- SHArK, SEAL, HARPOON, Juice from Juice, and the Westside Science Club. This map shows all the sites around the world with SHArK and SEAL research kits as of Jan 2015. Our solar energy research truly is a global effort! To get involved, check out the pages for each project and see which one is right for you.

Jennifer McCleary: Finalist in Intel Science Talent Search

Solar Army member Jennifer McCleary from Beckman High School in Irvine, CA became a finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search, the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition. She participates with her SEAL spin-off project on correlating complex metal oxides’ bandgaps with their photoelectrochemical performance and is mentored by Gray group member Astrid M. Mueller. Only 40 finalists were selected from more than 1,800 entrants. Jennifer will present her work to the public in Washington, DC in March and compete for top awards.

Outreach Session at CCI Annual Meeting

At the CCI Solar Annual Meeting on Jan 24, 2015, we had 9 high school SEAL teams from SoCal present their work on the project so far this year. The students got to interact with the Center’s scientists and check out the latest research at the poster session. A great time was had by all!

HARPOON a Success at MSOE

HARPOON completed it’s most rigorous test yet- being used as a lab in Gen. Chem. at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Evaluation results show it was a great success encouraging students to continue science studies and prompting 70% of students to seek out more research opportunities in the future. HARPOON kits will soon be available for purchase. Contact us for more info!

Juice from Juice at the NSTA Conference

On Dec 6, 2014, CCI Solar presented the Juice from Juice workshop to a group of 90 teachers at the regional NSTA meeting in Long Beach, CA. The teachers got to try their hand at making dye-sensitized solar cells. The workshop was a big hit at the conference- it was standing room only!

Solar Energy at MIT-SPLASH

On November 22, 2014, members of the Cummins and Nocera groups at MIT and Harvard respectively participated in the MIT-SPLASH program for high school students in the Boston area. They did the Juice from Juice activity, making DSSCs with blackberry juice, and played with toy fuel cell cars. Fun was had all-around!

Caltech 2014 Summer Program

The 2014 Caltech Summer Program lasted 6 weeks from June to the end of July. We had 3 groups who utilized both the SEAL and HARPOON kits to study catalysts for water oxidation. They all did a great job!

Welcome to the Solar Army website! We are the outreach branch of the NSF Center for Chemical Innovation in Solar Fuels (CCI Solar) centered at the California Institute of Technology.

Enough sunlight falls on the earth in one hour to power all the energy needs of our planet for a year.  If we can capture the energy in sunlight and use it to generate a chemical fuel, we will no longer need to burn fossil fuels, will no longer add to the green house gases in the atmosphere, will no longer need to purchase oil from other countries, and will have a sustainable fuel that is renewed every day from the sun.

The Solar Army wants to capture the energy in sunlight and use it to split water and yield a chemical fuel, hydrogen. We will need two great catalysts to do this: one to oxidize water to oxygen; the other to reduce protons to hydrogen. We have several outreach projects where high school and undergraduate students can join in on the search for these catalysts. Check out the SHArK, SEAL and HARPOON pages to learn more about how to get involved in the search for non-toxic, efficient, cheap, earth-abundant materials that will change the way the world gets its power!

The Solar Army also has a project called Juice from Juice where students and teachers can learn about solar energy in the context of making dye-sensitized solar cells with blackberry juice. Through assembly and testing of DSSCs and related activities in chemistry, physics or biology modules, students  in grades 3-12 can learn the fundamentals of solar energy. Check out the Juice from Juice page to learn more about the activities, get lesson plan downloads, kit purchasing information or to sign up for one of our professional development workshops.


Check out our calendar for upcoming events across the nation!


Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Boy Scout Field Trip 10:00 pm
Boy Scout Field Trip @ Caltech
Feb 11 @ 10:00 pm – 11:30 pm
Local cub scout troop from San Marino will be visiting Caltech on a field trip to learn more about careers in science and engineering. They will also get to make DSSCs from the Juice from[...]