Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 10:28 am PT (01:28 pm ET)
Solar charging stations with Apple Lightning & 30-pin connectors come to New YorkiPhone, iPad and iPod users on the go can now receive a free boost at a handful of new public solar charging stations in New York City, with more set to appear across the city over the coming days and weeks.
Goal Zero, AT&T and Pensa collaborated on the new Street Charge stations, which feature three 15-watt solar panels. Each pole has six USB connectors, including 30-pin and Lightning plugs for Apple devices.
The charging stations also include a micro-USB plug for non-Apple devices, as well as three female USB plugs for users who may have a charging cable on them.
As of Tuesday, the first official charging stations are now live at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1, Fort Greene Park, Governor's Island, and Riverside Park Pier 1, according to AT&T. Another station is scheduled to open Wednesday at Union Square.
AT&T has said that it will deploy about 25 Street Charge stations by the end of the summer, serving all five of New York City's boroughs. And the inclusion of a 168 watt-hour battery will also allow users to charge their devices even after sundown.
The program grew out of the Superstorm Sandy disaster, when AT&T found that citizens were flocking to its generator-powered distribution centers to charge their phones. That led AT&T to partner with Goal Zero and Brooklyn-based design firm Pensa to develop what it's pitched as a "sustainable charging solution."
"Were excited to team up with AT&T and Pensa to help make New York a little greener and solar power a little more accessible," said Joe Atkin, President and CEO of Goal Zero. "Nearly half of all Americans own a smartphone and the amount of time we spend on handheld devices has increased dramatically. All too often, we hear the dreaded low-battery beep and it happens at the most inconvenient times. Street Charge will fix that."
Goal Zero has said its Street Charge stations will be modular to meet specific needs. For example, the stations can be modified to add solar-powered lighting, Wi-Fi, and signage for advertisements.
The stations will come to other heavily trafficked areas of the city this summer, including Coney Island, Rockaways, Summerstage in Central Park, Randall's Island, and Hudson River Park.
"Partnering up with Goal Zero is a great match for us, said Marco Perry, co-founder of Pensa. "Were looking to create something that complements its surroundings and invites people to hang out and recharge. We have also found that where people gather, opportunities develop for street vendors and retail, and neglected urban areas come alive."
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