Baker City – An outdoor Solar Charging Station for portable electronic devices is now available for public use at the Baker County Public Library, courtesy of the Friends of Baker County Library group.
The bright green, $6,900 unit can be found in the grassy area of the north public parking lot. It features two GFI outlets with USB ports above a circular standing tabletop. The station will allow Baker County citizens and visitors to use Solar Energy to charge their phones, laptops, tablets, batteries and any other rechargeable devices. Users must have their own charging cables and power adapters.
The unit is 100% solar powered with battery storage, allowing energy generated during the day to be used at night. At dusk, it powers on its own LED lights to provide discreet illumination. In addition to being a convenient way to charge devices while out and about, the device can be counted on as a reliable source of power during outages.
Solar Charging Stations are growing in popularity in community spaces, particularly in regions that experience severe weather. The library’s unit was manufactured in Gainesville, Florida by Pure Energy Solar with heavy gauge weatherproof aluminum. Library staff installed it on Friday, November 18th, securely bolting it to a cement pad base which was generously donated by Challis Concrete and Wildish Construction. After charging over the sunny weekend, it was ready for public use on Monday, November 21.
Baker County Library District hopes the Solar Charging Station will help highlight the library’s commitment to innovation, opportunity, stewardship, and the benefits of adopting renewable energy technologies. At monthly staff meetings, employees are encouraged to pitch energy savings ideas as part of the library’s involvement in the Strategic Energy Management (SEM) initiative from the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO). Energy efficiency projects in recent years have included window tinting, replacement of door seals, added insulation to soffits, a tankless water heater, and an upgrade of the old boiler to a hydronic boiler array. The ETO program provides workshops, data, and planning tools, coaching, and even cash incentives for energy management progress.
Funding for the Solar Charging Station project was provided by the Friends of Baker County Library with reserves earned from annual book sale events and ongoing sales of used books through the small bookshop operated at the front of the library. In prior years, Friends group projects have included furnishings such as the library’s aquarium, the popular bike repair station at the south end of the library building, and a water bottle filling station. The group also supports library programs such as the annual Free Comic Book Day event, Summer Reading Program events, and Oregon Battle of the Books. With additional fundraising, the Friends and library district hope to deploy additional Solar Charging Stations at its branch locations. Donations for expanding the solar energy project are welcome.
“We are proud to be enhancing public service in Baker County in both a fiscally and environmentally responsible way,” said Library Director Perry Stokes. “With help of our community, we saved books from landfills by re-homing them through used book sales, and in a sense converted books into power for mobile devices by capturing renewable energy from the sun. It’s another great way the public library brings power to the people.”