New solar-powered USB charging stations on campus

    Now you can sit back and recharge your device while you wait for your ride.

    By Fiona Gamble on September 1, 2016

    Two new solar-powered USB/phone charging stations have been installed on North Campus along the bus loop, one near the Administration Building and the other near the HUB LRT station entrance. With the University of Alberta installation, Edmonton now boasts being the first Canadian city and being home to the first university in Canada to install these particular stations.

    Manufactured by Soofa, these standalone units are each equipped with a 30 W solar panel and two weatherproof USB ports to charge portable devices. Since the sun isn’t always out these units also house a battery to store captured solar energy, so you can charge any time, day or night. Soofa’s co-founder and CEO Sandra Richter shared their excitement at seeing this technology being adopted by universities—“Since Soofa started out of MIT we are always thrilled for the opportunity to work with innovative and sustainable campuses. We couldn't be more excited that the University of Alberta is the first university in Canada to install our technology!"

    Both Soofa Core units were donated by The Friends of the University of Alberta Society as a contribution to campus life and environmental sustainability. The Friends of the U of A is an Alberta-based non-profit society and charitable organization dedicated to providing a connection to the university for members of the broader community. They do so by presenting and supporting multiple educational lecture series, providing a number of scholarships and bursaries, profiling UAlberta volunteer opportunities, and supporting major projects that advance the goals of the University of Alberta.

    Facilities and Operations was happy to support the installation, seeing this as a way to showcase innovative ways to make everyday campus life a little greener. They ensured that each station was nestled between two benches, inviting you to relax while your device charges—wait for the bus, visit with friends or just enjoy the sunshine.

    Happy charging!