While the UK’s iconic phone booths are still considered national icons, cellphones have largely rendered the big red boxes obsolete over the years. Solarbox London plans to change that by transforming phone booths into free solar-powered phone charging stations. The company’s retrofitted phone booth chargers are painted bright green, and they now bring solar energy to the selfie-addicted masses. Kirsty Kenny and Harold Craston founded SolarBox and earned second place for their innovative idea in this year’s Mayor of London’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Solarbox London inaugurated the first of six solar-powered charging stations on London’s Tottenham Court Road last week, providing free charging for devices for local commuters and tourists. Each green box is equipped with a 86-centimeter-long, 150-watt solar panel mounted to the roof, which provides enough power to charge 100 phones per day. The charging stations are perfect for those looking to charge-and-go as well–test runs show a 20% battery charge in about 10 minutes depending on the phone model.
Although the Solarbox team currently has six phone charging stations around London, the team hopes to have 12 installed by the end of the year. While the Solarboxes will be free for users, the system will be funded by an integrated advertising system that displays ads while the phone charges. The Solarbox will be open between 5:30am and 11:30pm, 365 days a year.