|The Solar Power-Dok's umbrella is adorned with three solar panels and the heat from the panels drains into the pole which has four power outlets. It was first developed in 2006.|
The Lansing Board of Water & Light and Mayor Virg Bernero unveiled the city's first Solar Power-Dok picnic table today - complete with an umbrella designed to provide energy whenever it is placed outdoors in direct sunlight.
The idea for the picnic table and solar docking ports was developed by Lansing-based EnerFusion Inc. and its owner Joe Kobus.
The table has solar panels attached to the umbrella and delivers electricity to four GFCI outlets and four USB power outlets that can charge gadgets such as cell phones, smart phones, and laptops.
"If you're just sitting around having lunch, and your phone's running a little low, why not just plug it in as I have just done," J. Peter Lark, BWL chairman, said during the unveiling. "This is a symbol of what we're all about.
|Lansing Board of Water & Light President J. Peter Lark and Lansing |
Mayor Virg Bernero try out the power ports on the Solar Power-Dok at
the Lansing City Market on Sept. 23, 2014.
Jay Scott Smith | MLive.com
Enerfusion also developed a solar charging station called Radiance, which features 11 USB ports and two lockboxes that are opened through fingerprint recognition.
"We recognized that there is a real strong need for places to plug in," said EnerFusion's Kobus. "We pursued that and we knew that the market for the outdoors was just ripe for the picking so that's where we put all of our efforts."
Kobus said that the first design of the Power-Dok was created in 2006. The "Radiance" model is set to make its full debut in October and he has already formed a partnership with Sprint to debut it with a WiFi hotspot built into it.
"We were working with NASCAR earlier in the year, and we were at races," he said. "We would pepper these all over the field and it allows people to charge their devices all during the day."
Kobus said that there are 90 of the Solar Power-Dok picnic tables around the country, including 30 on college campuses including Hope College in Holland. However, they have yet to make their debut at Michigan State University or Lansing Community College.
BWL spokesman Steve Serkaian said that the Solar Power-Dok costs $9,000 and Kobus said other models of it range between $4,000 and $10,000. The BWL says that the table, which is a part of the Live Green Lansing initiative, will help make the city a greener place.
"These little things that you're going to see cropping up in and around Lansing that is going to make Lansing a much different place," Lark said. "None of these chargers are requiring any fossil fuels to be burned, it's all coming right off of the sun. It's pretty exciting."