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Solar Street Charging Stations: Brilliant or Not?

You know how you’ll run across something, and all you can think is…meh. I have to admit, that was my initial response here. Not because it’s not something that’s actually needed, not because it’s a bad idea, not because it’s not environmentally conscious. But because I honestly can’t see the average person in the average big city standing around these kiosks long enough to charge any of their devices. If you’ve ever used a solar charger, you’ll know what I mean.

But then I think…maybe it’ll be good for a quick charge? Just this afternoon, I ran my phone completely dead, to the point where it shut itself off. It wasn’t really that big a deal, other than that I wasn’t able to check into places on Foursquare, but then I was with someone who still had a full battery in case we needed to call someone due to an emergency. These have been rolled out in New York City only at this point as a test, but I’m sure if they go over well they’ll be popping up in other cities as well.

A collaborative effort from AT&T, portable solar power systems developer Goal Zero, and Brooklyn design studio Pensa, these stations have PV panels installed on top and an internal battery which holds the converted solar power for when it is needed by a desperate passerby. Plugging your phone in for a few minutes should give you just enough of a charge for a short call, or of course you can stand there and use it while it’s plugged in to make your call. The trouble (for me), would be that if you want to charge your phone to the point where it’s no longer showing the warning red or yellow battery level, you’re going to be hanging out on a street corner for quite some time. Most people walking (especially those in NYC) don’t really have that kind of time.

I guess if I had to rate the idea on a scale of one to five, I’d give it a solid 2.5. Because I can easily see where it would come in very handy if your phone died when you needed to make a call, and you happened to be near one. But I also can’t get past how long it takes a phone to charge, especially when using a solar charger. Granted, these are considerably higher tech than solar chargers most of us could have for our very own, but it’s still pretty time-consuming.

You can be sure, though, that if I find myself in NYC (or any other location these might appear), I’m going to use one. Just because.

Source: Technabob

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