Nineteen-year-old Eden Full is going to be taking a few years off from her studies at Princeton. That's because she's been getting a ton of grants to finish developing her SunSaluter, a technology that allows solar panels to track the sun, boosting output by 40 percent.

Unlike other devices that let solar panels move to follow the sun, the SunSaluter doesn't use a motor — instead, it turns because the different metals it's made of expand in the sun at different rates. That means Full's invention is about 1/60th as expensive as traditional solar trackers — $10 versus $600 — and simple enough to be maintained by kids in developing communities.

Here's Eden on why she does what she does:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

My parents instilled a sense of responsibility towards the environment when I was younger and I carried this value with me throughout my life. I had the opportunity to travel to the Canadian Arctic two years ago where I witnessed the depressing lack of sea ice as a result of climate change, which made it hard for animals to find food and land. On a Zodiac boat ride, I had a chance to get within five metres of a polar bear that was so desperately hungry he didn’t even bother to turn away from us. This was an emotional moment for me when I realised that I had a chance to help prevent this problem from getting worse. I would have to help with the reduction of CO2 emissions.