We all know how devastating a dead cell phone can be, so AT&T's big news of the morning should be music to the ears of anyone who dreads that low-battery chirp. The telecom provider will join solar company Goal Zero and DUMBO-based design studio Pensa today to unveil the new AT&T Street Charge solar-powered cell phone charging station pilot program at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. The elegant wood and metal modules will collect energy from the sun and allow New Yorkers to plug in whenever they need some extra battery power. Additional solar charging stations will also be deployed at a number of additional locations throughout the 5 boroughs - read on to find the one closest to you.
“We’re excited to team up with AT&T and Pensa to help make New York a little greener and solar power a little more accessible,” said Joe Atkin, President and CEO of Goal Zero. “Nearly half of all Americans own a smartphone and the amount of time we spend on handheld devices has increased dramatically. All too often, we hear the dreaded low-battery beep and it happens at the most inconvenient times. Street Charge will fix that.”
Each Street Charge module is equipped with three 15-watt monocrystalline solar panels that soaks up the sun in order to charge its internal batteries. New Yorkers on the go will be able to walk up to a Street Charge station, plug in their phones, tablets or other small electronics and charge them just like they would at home. Each module has built-in cords for iphone 4 & 5, one mini USB and three female USBs for people who have their own cords.
That all sounds great and dandy, but let’s get to the nitty gritty – how fast will people be able to charge? After all, most New Yorkers don’t have time to stand around waiting all day for their batteries to fill up. “It’s about the same as a wall charger,” Atkin explained to us. According to Goal Zero, the stations will also have the ability to charge devices on cloudy days and even at night, thanks to their internal batteries.
“AT&T Street Charge is a natural next step in our ongoing efforts to keep New Yorkers connected and is a direct outgrowth of our experience from Superstorm Sandy,” Marissa Shorenstein, President of AT&T NY, told Inhabitat NYC. “It was after Sandy that we decided to pilot a free public charging solution and we naturally looked for a sustainable option.”
So where will you be able to find Street Charge? Although the final schedule isn’t yet set in stone, here is the expected lineup (locations below are not yet open except for Fort Greene Park):
Riverside Park, Pier I
Rumsey Playfield, Central Park Summerstage
Hudson River Park Pier 59
Union Square Park, North Plaza
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1
Fort Greene Park
Dumbo Arts Festival
Brooklyn Book Festival
Clearview Golf Course
Socrates Sculpture Park
La Tourette Golf Course
Staten Island Zoo
As of now, the solar charging units will only be up for about four months until September 2013, but there is a possibility of a more permanent Street Charge presence if the pilot program goes well. Have comments or questions about Street Charge? Tweet @ATTNYC with the hashtag #ATTStreetCharge to share your thoughts or get answers.