AT&T has just announced Street Charge, a solar power project that will install 25 solar-powered charging stations for mobile devices around New York City.
The cell phone service provider has partnered with Pensa Design, a Brooklyn-based company that came up with the idea several months ago, as well as Goal Zero, a solar power company. Chargers will start popping up as soon as Tuesday of next week throughout Fort Green Park in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Union Square, Riverside Park, Coney Island, and Hudson River Park.
“Nearly half of all Americans own a smartphone, and the amount of time we spend on handheld devices has increased dramatically,” said Joe Atkin, CEO of Goal Zero. “All too often, we hear the dreaded low-battery beep and it happens at the most inconvenient times. Street Charge will fix that.”
The 10-foot tall steel chargers are powered by three 15-watt solar panels and a 168 watt-hour battery, which acts as backup and keeps them running for several days with no exposure to the sun. Each one has USB connectors, iPhone 4 and 5 plugs, as well as ports for various tablets and other devices.
Not only is this a great source of clean energy and an easy way to give your phone some juice while on-the-go, it’s also a pretty smart business move for AT&T. If customers don’t have any battery life left, they can’t connect to the network. It’s also pretty ideal in the event of disasters like Superstorm Sandy, which left many New Yorkers with no grid power to charge their phones and keep in touch with loved ones.
The project is still in a trial phase, which will last until October. If it proves to be a success, we could start seeing solar charging stations popping up in other areas of the country.
Do you think this would be a useful program in your city?
Image: Goal Zero