Solar bench provides ideal spot to charge up or work outdoors

If you prefer working outdoors and consider yourself something of an environmentalist, UWindsor’s campus now has the perfect spot for you.

A solar bench, which captures energy from the sun and converts it to electricity, was recently installed near the gardens in front of the Leddy library.

Klaus Dohring, owner of Green Sun Rising, the Windsor company that made and donated the bench, said it’s an ideal location to sit outside and work on a laptop or to charge up an electronic device.

“We hope that students, faculty and staff will embrace and use the solar bench, enjoying the seating arrangement, weather protection, LED lighting and the charge capabilities for cell phones and laptops,” he said. “It’s clean, autonomous energy for a greener world.”

Capable of seating four people, the bench’s roof has three thin-film solar panel modules that capture the sun’s energy and turn it into standard household 120-volt power, Dohring said. Its two 12-volt deep-discharge batteries can store 204 watts of direct current power, over and above what it generates during sunny conditions, so it can be used 24 hours a day. The bench also has a two-watt LED light mounted in the top to light it up at night.

“Whenever the sun is out, it’s making electricity,” he said. “But even under dim conditions, it’s still generating something.”

Dan Castellan, the university’s Manager, Facility Planning, Renovations & Construction, said he was delighted that Dohring donated the bench and that it demonstrates the university’s commitment to using more sustainable sources of energy.

“It was a really nice gesture on the part of Green Sun Rising,” he said.

Dohring said the bench was recently set up temporarily at the Balloonapalooza event downtown and it was very well received, and well used by many people who attended. The university’s bench, he said, is the first permanent installation of a bench that his company has done.

“Your students are very smart, so I’m sure they’ll figure it out very quickly,” he said. “We hope it gets good reception and usage.”