Have you been reading an e-book at the park when suddenly your device’s battery starts gasping its last? The sun may be shining bright, but there you are, stranded without an outlet. CarrierClass, a company that specializes in solar technologies and broadband connectivity, hopes their latest creation will eliminate this problem for outdoor enthusiasts. At the upcoming GreenBuild International Expo in Philadelphia, CarrierClass will unveil the ConnecTable: a solar-powered station that comes in the form of a café, picnic, or deck table. With seamless integration into a variety of landscapes, the ConnecTables can provide renewable energy to a wide range of public spaces.
ConnecTables are designed to be robust commercial and residential solar charging stations that can be used in the middle of a college campus, office complex, outdoor mall, or theme park. Multiple tables can be combined to form a micro grid and a backup power source during extended power outages.
Depending on the model chosen, ConnecTables will feature at least two, 250 watt panels for a total of 500 watts. “In the worst case scenario you start off with a full battery within the table’s system and 2 days of cloudy foggy weather. During those 2 days you can still get 75 – 100 iPhones up to 75 percent power,” a CarrierClass rep told me. “In the spring or fall with OK weather you can double that (150-200 iPhones per day, at around 50 percent).” Of course, if the weather is better, say in the sunny summer time, the tables recharge themselves, and power levels remain high despite frequency of use. As long as there is adequate sun to charge up the ConnecTable’s batteries it can provide ongoing power, day and night.
Maintenance of the tables is similar to any solar charging system: ”Very little maintenance is required. It’s as simple as keeping the panels clear from dust or debris to allow maximum penetration of sunlight. With our tables you get 1 year warranty plus the manufacturer’s warranty on components,” explained the rep.
And what about vandalism? We’ve all seen what happens to some park benches and picnic tables in public places. ConnecTables are “commercially hardened just like any other outdoor public structure. Electrical components are housed in fully encased in non-user accessible locations to provide the highest user safety and protection possible. They are architecturally-designed and stainless steel constructed systems. The solar panels are high quality commercial grade panels built to meet or exceed all applicable solar industry standards,” the rep assured me.
As an added bonus, qualifying organizations may be eligible for low-interest financing of the tables through the Sustainable Energy Fund (www.thesef.org). The ConnecTable qualifies for the 30 percent investment tax credit offered to businesses that install solar. Colleges can also use designated green funds to purchase tables.