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Creative partnerships for emergency solar charging stations
1  Assistant Professor of Design, University of California Davis
2  Principle, Sol Design Lab, San Francisco, CA


Creative partnerships that meld solar energy with place making and design thinking are yielding adaptive solutions for resilient cities. How can we train and empower youth to become active participants in a broad network of climate change innovators? Learn how design and engineering students have worked together on collaborative campus solar charging station projects with environmental sensors at the University of California Davis, Stanford University, and the University of Texas at Austin. The presenter will share lessons from her work using renewable energy education in university and community settings over the last ten years. Her collaborative campus solar charging station projects offered students and community members the opportunity to gather in the shade while recharging their laptops, phones and electric bicycles via standard electrical outlets. The stations have 2-4 solar panels (500-1000 watts) and a 1000-watt inverter, they provided a WiFi workstation for four people and solar laboratory for students during the day. Batteries extend the charging capacity on cloudy days and into the night with vibrant LED lighting, and data loggers track station use. Student researchers have assessed the impacts of multiple solar charging stations, including intensity of station and shared vehicle use, travel patterns, and modes and trip types being replaced with two-wheeled electric mobility. This integrative project represents innovations in mobility, charging station design, and solar energy. Learn how you can incorporate solar design curriculum and skills to foster public awareness of renewable energy through hands on learning for a variety of audiences and outcomes. We will examine how the design process enacts a community mindset – a combination of problem solving and creative thinking that engages participants from different disciplines.

Keywords: mobility, charging station design, solar energy