Feature Stories

UGA charges ahead with solar-powered picnic table

University of Georgia students, faculty and staff are now able to power up their electronic devices without attaching to the grid by connecting to a new solar-powered charging station near Herty Field.

This pilot energy conservation program is a first offered by a university in Georgia. The station has eight USB ports and four standard plugins and can support up to 75-150 hand-held mobile device charges per day-even on overcast days.

The ConnecTable solar charging station uses renewable solar energy and it features a 530-watt solar array and a 225 amp hour gel cell battery. The off-grid design offers year-round charging power without tapping into the university's electrical supply.

Brian Holcombe, a senior majoring in anthropology, wanted to help solve the ever-growing problem of finding electrical outlets to charge mobile devices and laptops in public areas, and he wanted to meet that need through renewable solar energy. With help from the UGA Campus Sustainability Grants program administered by the Office of Sustainability, Holcombe worked with the Facilities Management Division Grounds Department and the Office of Sustainability to set up the charging station.

"I'm hopeful that students will enjoy using the station," Holcombe said. "And that it might encourage them to think more about their own energy usage and personal choices, especially in terms of individual impact on climate change ... we all should be thinking about our personal energy consumption and understanding that our consumptive decisions have local and global effects."

Holcombe said he hopes that UGA will consider expanding to multiple stations across campus. "That's the most rewarding part of this process for me-to have played a part in helping develop solar power at UGA especially in a highly visible and interactive way."

 

Published Thursday,