It is now a little bit easier for students at the University of California, Riverside to find some place to plug in and charge their phones and laptops, as Thirteen Carrier Glass Green Infrastructure ConnecTables Solar Charging Stations that double as canopied, café-style tables, have been installed at sites across the campus.
“The solar tables at UCR provide a clean and renewable source of energy for charging the multitude of mobile devices on campus while offering much-needed shade,” said John Cook, director of Sustainability at UCR. “The solar tables get us one step closer to meeting our 2025 carbon neutrality goals.”
HUB Director Todd Wingate agrees that the tables will fulfill an important need. “As the campus has continued to grow, so has the number of devices that students carry,” Wingate said. “Finding a place to recharge mobile phones or laptop batteries on campus can be tough. We saw the solar tables as one part of the solution.”
Each table is a self-sustaining, off-the-grid solar power unit that features two commercial quality, 265-watt solar panels that also serves as a canopy. The solar panel charges a battery that supports four 120-volt outlets and eight USB outlets. The solar panel produces two-to three times more power than the charging system and battery requires to charge at least 150 mobile devices in a day. The units can be used on shady days or even placed in somewhat shaded areas without compromising the availability of power. The batteries have an estimated life of five years before they will need replacement.
“These units meet a need by bringing electricity to areas where students congregate, but where there is little or no infrastructure to support it. It also demonstrates a commitment towards green power and toward fulfilling the university¹s goal of reducing carbon emissions,” said Uma Ramasubramanian, senior physical planner in Capital Resource Management, who coordinated the selection and placement of the tables.
ConnecTables are designed to accommodate a range of table design aesthetics, surface materials, and customizable site design objectives. The fully engineered solar power charging and backup power systems are also an ideal enhancement for city parks, outdoor malls, sports complexes, mixed-use developments, theme parks, and more. Multiple tables can be combined to form a micro grid and a backup power source during extended power outages.
— Solar Builder magazine