A tiny house village for the homeless in Eugene, Oregon is doing more than changing lives—the micro-housing village is also taking steps towards energy independence. SunJack, the makers of a portable solar charger touted as the "world’s most powerful," has outfitted the homes at Opportunity Village Eugene with solar panels. Each solar charger comes with a battery backup and can be easily draped overtop the tiny home roofs or hung from the doorways.
Founded in August 2013 as a “transitional micro-housing” pilot project, the self-governed, peer-supported Opportunity Village Eugene is home to 30 otherwise homeless individuals and couples. Each tiny unit—approximately 60 to 80 square feet in size—offers safety and privacy as well as computer and wi-fi access. Kitchens, gathering areas, restrooms, and laundry facilities are placed in communal areas. In place of rent, residents pay a $30 per month utility fee and community service hours.
Operating costs for the entire village average around $1,800 per month, but the inclusion of solar panels has the potential to reduce those bills further. In addition to energy independence, these solar chargers also have the benefit of teaching residents about renewable energy. The durable and lightweight chargers can be easily moved and examined by residents, who can position the panels to their liking. The 14-Watt and 20-Watt SunJack solar chargers weigh in at just 2 pounds and 2.7 pounds, respectively, and come with either one or two 8,000mAh lithium-polymer batteries.
Images via SunJack