Mount Hood CC installs solar charging stations on picnic tables

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by KGW reporter Keely Chalmers

KING5.com

Posted on June 5, 2013 at 6:49 PM

PORTLAND -- You could call it the picnic table of the future.

Mount Hood Community College has put in three state-of-the-art solar charging stations that are also outdoor tables.

Now students at the college can study, eat, or just lounge outside at one of tables while the table charges their phones, laptops, or iPads using only the power of the sun.

Panels on the table’s umbrella absorb solar energy.

That energy is passed through the post and stored in a battery inside the table's base.

A digital meter lets students know how much energy they're actually using.

And the "greenness" doesn't stop there.

The tables themselves are made completely from recycled milk jugs.

Mount Hood is the first community college in the nation to use the gadgets.

“Being before UC Berkeley and Stanford and all of those huge amazing universities, it says something and it sets a precedence for what we're about,” said student body president William Miller.

For those who may wonder if the tables will work during Oregon's cloudy winter and fall months, the manufacturer says they only need a few hours of daylight, not direct sun, to get a full charge.

The college put in three of the solar picnic tables at a cost of about $10,000 each.

The money came from student fees, which is money set aside every year by the student government to gift the school a project.

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