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Get Charged Up With New Solar Picnic Table

By: Kathleen Tuck   Published 11:07 am / September 30, 2013

Solar DokEven if the weather doesn’t seem to be cooperating for the new solar-powered picnic table, it still works, rain or shine, day or night, and in hot weather or cold — so long as the table is in the open.

Currently located outside the Interactive Learning Center, the picnic table, or “Solar Dok” as it’s called, is a charging station. Solar panels on top of the canopy collect energy from the sun and store it in the battery at the table’s base. Students and staff can sit at the Solar Dok and recharge their phones and laptops, completely off the grid, with 100 percent green energy.

“We are looking for unique and sustainable improvements to upgrade the student experience at Boise State — improvements that are engaging and that demonstrate the university’s ongoing efforts to advance itself in sustainability,” said Kevin Satterlee, vice president for campus operations and general counsel. “I hope the table generates interest and conversations about the use of sustainable power on campus.”

“We are excited about the potential of the Solar Dok to provide Boise State students, faculty, staff and campus visitors with the ability to charge mobile devices on the go and in a way that is consistent with the university’s commitment to sustainability,” said Lisa Harris, vice president for student affairs. “The table is a wonderful educational opportunity for the campus community to interact with solar technology.”

The solar table provides four 110-volt power outlets and two Type A USB outlets and a visible, mounted solar charge controller with a digital readout that displays solar energy production. An LED light, with an automatic shut off after 45 minutes, allows the table to be used at night.

Eco-friendly in manufacturing materials as well, the Solar Dok is made from recycled plastic — 1,200 recycled milk jugs to be exact.

Facilities Operations and Maintenance is piloting this new table and if the pilot goes well, may purchase more.