Good News: Solar Recharging Stations

Sometimes the whole sustainability/climate change/we’re-plunging-into-darkness news gets me down. From movies like Chasing Ice showing glacial retreat to fracking  polluting water systems, killing plants, animals and making people sick to our honey bee colonies collapsing due to pesticides; some days I think why bother?  That is why I’m doing a series of good-news posts. To remind myself there are a lot of great and innovative things going on out there. I need some cheering up (and maybe you do too?).

I recently found some good news in my college alumni magazine. Each quarter when I receive Non Satis Scire (To Know is Not Enough), I usually give it a passing glance before tossing it into the recycle. But this time two things caught my eye: one student lived in a tiny house as part of her senior year project and another started a solar design company, Sol Design Lab after graduating from Hampshire.

While pursing an MFA, Beth Ferguson bought an electric scooter then needed a place to charge it, so she invented a solar charging station called SolarPump. Genius.

What I love about it, other than the fact it generates renewable energy, is that it’s whimsical (designed after a 1950’s gas station) and creates a sense of community while people charge their scooters and devices. Plus, it “provides a springboard for conversation about climate change,” which in my mind is its most important asset. Pop-out seating and tabletops are built from recycled road signs and create park-like seating area around the charging station. The solar panels power lights to keep the station lit and welcoming at night.

Sol Design Lab just launched a new website and soon a new app called Sunspot. The website lists information about currently installed SolarPumps and shows current Watt use and battery capacity. Solar charging stations also provide Wi-Fi. All they need is an espresso stand and people would hang out all day.

How great would SolarPump stations have been in NYC after Sandy? Remember all of the extension cords in the street as people charged their phones? Innovations like this one will help us find a way to live sustainably without having to give up modern conveniences.

If you like this idea, here are some things you can do:

  • Follow Sol Design Lab on FB, Twitter or other social media
  • Contact them to see about installing a SolarPump at your event, campus, etc.
  • Donate to keep this great idea alive
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