Few things are worse in today’s mobile world than looking down at your smartphone seeing that you’re just about out of juice. But AT&T and New York City may have the cure for your battery life anxiety. A new pilot program from Goal Zero will see 25 free solar charging stations for your various gadgets installed throughout the city’s parks and beaches.
Dubbed Street Charge, each station measures 25 feet tall and features three petal-like solar panels extending from the top. Street Charge offers charging ports for microUSB devices, the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4, and three female USB plugs for those who bring their own cords. The stations will reportedly capture enough solar power to continue operating throughout the night and up to five days without sunlight.
Street Charge units will be made available in multiple locations, including Union Square, Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Coney Island, Riverside Park, Rockaways, Summerstage in Central Park, Randall’s Island, Governor’s Island and Hudson River Park.
Just like charging through a typical wall outlet, fully juicing a depleted smartphone via Street Charge is estimated to take up to two hours. However, you should be able charge 30 percent of a battery in 30 minutes.
Why provide such a service? AT&T says the idea came up following the widespread power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy. After the storm, the carrier provided diesel generators and portable cellular towers to especially hard hit neighborhoods in the city.