UF is one of three sites nationwide to host a prototype of a solar-powered charging station.
The energy efficient charging station was installed on Turlington Plaza on Nov. 27, wrote Allen Masters, the assistant director of Facilities Services at UF, in an email.
The prototype stands approximately 20 feet high, and has four USB ports. UF partnered with Legrand, the parent company of RAB Lighting, to get the charging station.
“Our mission is to maintain and improve a physical environment conducive to learning, teaching, research and service for the students, faculty and staff of the University of Florida and for visitors to our campus,” Masters said. “In order to improve the physical environment, we must often seek out new processes and test new systems that will help us achieve this mission.”
Masters said Legrand reached out to UF Facilities Services to see if they would be interested in testing one of their solar-powered charging stations. UF agreed, and the unit was installed free of charge as long as UF provides feedback on the design.
Facilities Services has worked with RAB Lighting in the past to develop specialty LED lighting fixtures in places such as the Hub and the McGuire Center.
Masters said the prototype had to be installed in a high-traffic location where students gathered for a long period of time. Turlington Plaza seemed to be an ideal location, he said.
Nico Tuckfield, the president of UF Engineers for Sustainability and a UF philosophy and civil engineering senior, said he was happy to see UF using a solar panel.
“I love solar panels,” the 22-year-old said. “The sun powers our bodies quite literally. We might as well use the sun to power our society as well.”