The college experience is a rite of passage for many people.  This is a significant time period in which young individuals mature and grow.  Colleges and universities are an incubator of this potential.  Solar charging stations are a great way to introduce developing minds to the benefits of solar energy and to enable the colleges a way to start green initiatives, pave a path to sustainability, and obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Installing solar powered charging stations on college campuses is a phenomenal idea for students and the colleges.  It raises solar awareness and provides students and faculty with a method to charge their mobile devices conveniently and free of charge.  The charging stations can power electronic devices such as cellphones, laptops, tablets, and even electric bikes –  typical items that students use. Also, it would encourage students to take advantage of the outdoor campus.

Many colleges are adopting this new technology for their campuses.  Besides the fact that colleges like to keep up with their counterparts, by investing in this technology, they will enable a path to sustainability.  Success with solar charging stations could lead colleges to go for larger scale renewable energy investments, such as photovoltaics on rooftops and EV charging stations.

Apps used in conjunction with the solar charging stations would allow users the ability to utilize the charging stations to its greatest potential.  Students can find out ahead of time whether a particular charging station is available and plan accordingly.  Other relevant information such as how much energy the station has and how long it would take to charge would be available so that students would be able to monitor their charging.

Charging stations could feature LCD screens whereby colleges can advertise campus amenities and provide students with news of events and important information.  They can also generate an income stream with ads from vendors.  Being a resource of information is central for colleges as it helps them to reach out to a broader student base and keep students in the loop with campus events and information.  Colleges that invest in their students will see a return on investment.

Recruiting and Retention

These charging stations can also help colleges attract potential students.  Campus tours are common proceedings for high school seniors preparing to go to college.  What student wouldn’t consider it a plus to attend a school that is au courant with modern technology?  Student attrition is important to all colleges to meet financial goals, student enrollment/quotas, and to enhance the reputation of the school.  These charging stations may seem like a small thing for colleges to invest in, but the payoff is substantially more than the money spent.  Anything to enhance the lives of students is investing in the future.

Students will benefit from having these charging stations on campuses as it would allow them the capability to learn more effectively.  Many students record lectures or take notes on their mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops.  Keeping these devices charged for a full day at school is a challenge.  Having free power at their fingertips will enhance their overall learning experience.  Environmental science students, in particular, can benefit from learning about renewable energy as these charging stations provide a hands on learning experience.  The educational component encourages them to think beyond current applications for renewable energy and to inspire the next generation of students.

College students tend to be more technologically savvy.  Most have lived life with smartphones and tablets from an early age.  It would be natural that in the next chapter of their life, their continued use of these devices would carry on with them to college.  Some of these solar powered charging projects for colleges have been student-led initiatives.  This demonstrates the interest in renewable energy among students and their willingness to participate in creating ways to obtain sustainability and improving the functionality of their school.

Charging stations could also lead to more interaction among students.  Striking up conversations while passing the time to charge their mobile devices is a natural thing and could encourage students from different areas of studies to find common ground with each other.  This could foster a closer knit campus community.

Types of Solar Powered Charging Stations

There are a few different types of solar powered charging stations available now.  Many fit a variety of requirements and budgets.  Colleges have options to choose what best fits the needs of their campuses.  Some examples of these include a solar table and chair combo, solar bench, and solar locker.  Mobile versions of solar powered charging stations are also available.  The mobility factor can be a great convenience as it can accommodate different areas of the university and allow for a broader student base use.

ConnecTable produces one of the best solar charging tables on the market.  Most importantly, they are low maintenance, highly durable, and can withstand the elements as it is forged from structural steel.  They are also stylish to boot.  They are available in three forms – café, picnic, and deck table.

Soofa, a solar powered charging bench is a new player to the solar powered charging stations market.  It has a solar panel with a battery attached either to a modern style bench or as a standalone unit.  The company also uses sustainably harvested materials to build its products.

WrightGrid produces solar powered charging stations that offer people to charge their mobile devices securely by locking them away.  People can plug in their devices, walk away, and come back to fully charged devices.  The charging stations have a mailbox/locker format that enables the security.

Other Uses for Solar Powered Charging Stations

Solar powered charging stations have many applications that go beyond college campuses.  For instance, they can provide disaster preparedness for regions prone to blackouts and hurricanes.  For areas ravaged by natural disasters or acts of terrorism, these stations can provide an opportunity for people to connect with loved ones.  They can also provide support for outdoor activities and events.  In remote areas where electricity is scarce, these solar powered charging stations can be a lifeline for people.  In emergency situations, sometimes a quick charge to a dead phone is all that’s needed to summon help.

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