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Posted on October 11, 2017

Cal U students use the ConnecTable to charge their devices outside Manderino Library.

Laptops, tablets and smartphones are an intrinsic part of college life — and all those devices need charging.

Now Cal U students can recharge their digital devices outdoors, using the power of the sun.

A sustainable, solar-powered charging table has been installed along Third Street, near the entrance to Manderino Library.

The ConnecTableTM Hub offers seating beneath a solar array that provides enough off-grid energy to support 75-150 cellphone charges per day, even under cloudy skies.

How it works

Put simply, four commercial-quality photovoltaic panels capture solar energy, which is converted to electrical power and stored in a battery housed within the table.

The power flows to four 120-volt outlets and eight USB ports that accommodate laptops, tablets and phones.

Users bring their own charging cords, plug in and re-charge their devices. It’s that simple.

About the charging station

The all-weather charging table:

  • Operates year-round, even during power outages.
  • Functions on just two to three hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Is built to withstand winds of 90 miles per hour.
  • Provides shaded outdoor seating on benches made from recycled milk jugs.
  • Offers efficient LED lighting for evening use.
  • Is wheelchair accessible.

“Our students have asked for sustainable solutions, and we’re listening,” says Robert Thorn, vice president for Administration and Finance at
Cal U.

“There is a lot of foot traffic near the library, so it’s a convenient location for a charging station. And I think students will enjoy having a place to plug in, sit down and spend time together outdoors.”

The charging table is made by Carrier Class Green Infrastructure, of Willow Grove, Pa. The company is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Cal U is the first Pennsylvania university to provide a ConnecTableTM Hub for its students, employees and guests.