City of Raleigh introduces solar-powered cellphone charging stations

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Solar-powered cellphone charging stations are coming to three locations in Raleigh, according to a press release from the City of Raleigh.

A solar-powered cellphone charging station in Exchange Plaza in Downtown Raleigh (City of Raleigh)

Two of the locations for the charging stations are in the 200 block of Fayetteville Street – one in Market Plaza and one in Exchange Plaza, according to the release. The third station will be located at the intersection of Morrill Drive and Cates Avenue. That station will be installed in partnership with N.C. State’s Wolfline. The bus stop is shared by GoTriangle, GoRaleigh and the Wolfline.

Each charging station has two USB plug-ins that use solar power to charge your phone. The stations are free to use and are available on a first-come, first-served basis to anyone who brings their own cord, officials said.

The City of Raleigh Department of Transportation and the Office of Sustainability are installing the three stations. The installations are expected to be completed early this month.

According to the release, the charging stations are made in America by the company Soofa Benches. Soofa makes their products “from sustainably harvested materials.”

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The charging stations come with sensors that monitor the activity in outdoor public areas and will assist the city in seeing in real-time how people are using the spaces and will provide “information on the success of different programs, special vents and the space itself correlated with weather data.”

“Innovation is imperative in a growing city like Raleigh,” Transportation Director Michael Rogers said in the release. “Our desire to stay relevant to our citizens’ needs will keep Raleigh moving forward. Communication devices are important in this day and age, and I am excited that the City will be able to provide free cellphone charging stations within these benches.”

Raleigh “embodies everything we look for in a partner, from being willing to take risks to improve the quality of life for residents to working seamlessly internally to bring new ideas to life,” said Soofa co-founder and CEO Sandra Richter, in the release.

According to the City of Raleigh, there are Soofa Benches installed in 23 states and more than 65 cities. The company was founded by a team of female engineers and designers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. The first Soofa Benches were installed in Boston in 2014.

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