When your power supply goes on the fritz, or even if you simply need to supplement the power available on the regular grid, what can you do to keep electricity flowing and your electronics working?
Increasingly, communities are turning to compact solar energy charging stations to help meet energy demand. One of the most flexible and easy-to-install that I've seen is the ConnecTable Solar Charging Station, produced by CarrierClass Green Infrastructure.
The ConnecTable resembles a nicely designed picnic or cafe table with one notable addition. It has an "umbrella" made from photovoltaic cells that convert solar energy into electricity. Sockets on the PV pole let consumers plug in to charge cell phones, iPads, lap tops and other mobile devices. They can also be used by crews in times of emergency to power any number of communications devices.
A big benefit of the ConnecTable is its portability. While some models can permanently be installed at college campuses, office complexes, resorts, parks, or shopping malls, they can also be brought in if an area's utility grid goes down as a result of a big storm or other natural disaster. While several people can sit around one table, multiple tables can be combined to form a micro grid and backup power source during extended power outages.
As for affordability, qualifying organizations may be eligible for low-interest financing of the tables through the Sustainable Energy Fund. Tables qualify for the 30% investment tax credit offered to businesses that install solar. Colleges can also use designated green funds to purchase tables.
Keep an eye on other products CarrierClass Green Infrastructure (CCGI) has in the works. The company designs, sells and installs solar electric, solar thermal and custom off-grid solar power products for both commercial and residential customers. As the reliability of traditional power supplies come into question, innovative solar technologies like those being developed by CCGI can be expected to play an increasingly important role in helping all of us stay plugged in.