Students who worry about the environment or who can’t find an unguarded outlet on campus will now be satisfied when they start school in August thanks to a solar-powered charging station built this summer.
The station was put up on the west end of the Fred Shaw Plaza at Kendall Campus in July.
It was funded by a STEM-TOP grant from the Department of Education, has eight power outlets allowing students and staff to recharge electronic devices like cell phones, laptops, tablets and iPads. Officials said they hope to double the amount of outlets in the future.
“The Kendall Campus has many students who—at some point during the day—need to charge their mobile devices,” said Brian Stokes, senior director of campus administration at the campus. “The solar panel charging station will afford them this opportunity.”
The idea to create the solar-powered charging station came from Cristian Penciu, an assistant professor of engineering at MDC. Penciu, who applied for the grant used for the solar station, hopes it helps the campus acclimate itself to the concept of solar energy and open the door to create similar projects.
To complete the endeavour, Penciu recruited four students majoring in STEM fields. They helped select the location and design the station. Each student was assigned to research and review a specific component of the project.
“I’ve always been interested in electronics and power, so when I saw the opportunity to work on this project open up, I knew I wanted to do it,” said Nicolas Montoya, who served as the project’s team leader. “I think it’s important to realize how efficient solar energy can be and that it can be used very well.”
Alexander Campano, who also participated on the project, hopes it inspires people to be more environmentally conscious.
“If it’s someone who’s graduating and getting a car or buying their first home, they think about environmental sustainability and they factor it into their decision and maybe they get solar panels on their own home,” Campano said.