After Hurricane Sandy left NYC, the city was in shambles. Months later, the city has set up solar powered charging stations throughout the city. Twenty-five charging stations now exist, to be exact. The idea here is to provide New Yorkers with a way to charge devices should electricity disappear in the wake of a storm or other incident.
The solar powered stations have already been unveiled, and New Yorkers seem to be taking a slight interest in the project. The stations are slightly on the bizarre side and look sort of like modern windmills, but they will be there when New Yorkers need them.
Inside Each Station
Each station stands about 13-feet high. Attached to each station are six phone chargers. New Yorkers can plug phones into any of these chargers, and charge a phone for free (there is no cost to using these solar stations). In theory, this is an excellent idea. In reality, I'm not so sure.
Everything about solar power is great. Until there's a disaster. While there are twenty-five solar stations throughout the city (and these will be moved to different locations during the summer months), that totals 150 smartphone chargers. 150 chargers for around 8 million inhabitants. I imagine fights and struggles when, and if, a disaster happens.
There's another problem too. Most people won't feel safe leaving a phone attached to a solar charger in NYC. You'd have to stand next to the phone while it charges. On a clear and sunny summer day, sure. During the winter months when a disaster strikes? I'm not so certain.
How New Yorkers Are Reacting
Some New Yorkers did test out the charging stations. Most of these people didn't stand too far away from the stations, though. If your smartphone or iPod is clearly outdated, you might be in the clear. But, someone desperate enough may just run away with it. The solar stations are manned by an AT&T representative, but I'm not so certain that person would protect your stuff if someone wanted it badly enough.
Still, it's a noble feat. Trying to provide a city filled with million of people a way to solar charge devices for free is a great idea. Granted, this idea needs some more thought, but it's still a great idea. It's also more than other cities are doing in the way of solar charging stations. Where can you check out the newest additions to the city?
Finding the Solar Stations
Right now, the solar powered charging stations are located in parks across the city. The best way to find out where the stations are right now is to check the AT&T website, or to head to the city of New York's homepage.
Both sites will list solar charging station information. Even if you don't want to leave your device at one of these stations, you can still go and see what your city has been working on - and then let me know what you think about this new idea.
Photo courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr Creative Commons