Solar Powered Charging Stations Go On Tour

A portable Street Charge unit in use

Charging stations like those commonly seen at airports and other high-traffic areas usually plug into the electrical grid. Goal Zero’s new free-standing design charges electronic gizmos using the sun.

Street Charge solar-powered charging stations will pop up across the United States during the company’s Solarize America Tour, which is meant to expose the public to effective solar power.

People can charge up their phones using built-in USB ports and charging tips. Solar panels and lithium batteries are incorporated into each station to ensure there is juice day or night.

Three 15-watt solar panels on the station charge a 168 watt-hour Li-NMC battery. The 600-pound unit stands 12-feet 5-inches and has Apple 30-pin, Apple Lightning, Micro USB and Female USB ports.

Phones on the charger

The Street Charge was first used in a pilot program in New York City this summer.

Three U.S. cities — Austin, Miami, and Cambridge — have already been slated for stops on the Solarize America Tour and additional cities are under consideration.

A Street Charger on location

Twelve cities in total will be picked to receive up to three units for about 30 days each. The selection criteria include: sunshine, walkability, outdoor spaces, and a commitment to raise awareness for solar power.

The solar stations, which are available for purchase from Goal Zero for $8,000 to $10,000 per unit, have also been installed permanently by municipalities and universities.

—Sean McCoy

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.