Students: How many times have you been on campus, frantically trying to put the finishing touches on a homework assignment before your laptop battery dies? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to work on your computer outside on a nice day, rather than being cooped up in the library?
Tom Davis and Joe Kobus of EnerFusion in Lansing, MI have come up with a creative solar-powered solution to this dilemma. The Solar Dok is a picnic table that doubles as an off-grid, solar-powered charging station for electronic devices. The four-sided table houses an umbrella with six PV panels attached and a battery bank in its base. Electrical features of the the Solar Dok include four 110V standard GFCI power outlets, two USB type A power outlets and a 700-lumen LED lighting system that operates with a push button and timer for use at night. The unit is completely self-contained and maintenance-free; eliminating the need for wiring.
The table and seat tops are made from 100% recycled materials. It can also be customized to sport school colors and logos. So far, Solar Doks have been installed at Texas A & M, University of Florida and University of Central Florida. EnerFusion also envisions Solar Doks being used at cafes and restaurants, parks, recreation areas and trail facilities.
Although some might consider the unit to be a little clunky-looking, we can expect this novel approach to off-grid power to be a popular option on green college campuses. It sure beats spending a beautiful day in the library!