London Turning Iconic Callboxes into Free Solar Charging Stations

London Solarbox Call Box 310x

Foggy London-town wants solar charging all over the city.

Nothing revs my engine quite like the re-purposing of public infrastructure (seriously, let’s talk urban planning sometime), and London is now setting off one of the greatest such ideas in recent memory.

We all know of the iconic callboxes in London, those red (not TARDIS Blue) darlings that dot the cityscape. Iconic as they may be, phone booths are no longer the necessity they used to be, given the rise of the smartphone (or burner flip phone, if you fancy yourself a man or woman of action). So what can be done with all these booths?

Free power for all, naturally. Solarbox is a new initiative from Kirsty Kenney and Harold Craston, two students from the London School of Economics. Kenney and Craston recently won $5,000 from the London Mayor’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur competition, and the money is being used to set up Solarboxes across the city.

Solarbox will take some of London’s 8,000 callboxes and convert them into free, solar-powered charging stations for the masses. The solar panels placed on top of the box will be able to charge up to 100 devices per day. The free power is subsidized by advertising, which is played in the kiosk (not directly on your phone or tablet, don’t worry). It’s like the advertising model now seen at many American gas stations — displays playing ads and news content as your fill up at the pump.

There’s one Solarbox up and running so far (on Tottenham Court Road, for our UK readers), with a second going online in January. There’s no set limit on the Solarbox project just yet, but I don’t think we’ll see all 8,000 callboxes converted.

Between solar charging stations, and free WiFi hotspots, seeing new life breathed into unused, aging infrastructure will help keep urban life young and vibrant. And hey, keeping your phone alive during all those late city nights is always a plus.

Source: Reuters

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