Triggering the Solar Cell Revolution

Brigham Young University

Student Organization: Integrated Solar

Pollution is a significant problem in our society, posing a health hazard to millions worldwide. To help combat this problem, we need to encourage a more universal utilization of renewable energy.

Open Access Solar’s project, Triggering the Solar Cell Revolution, aims to provide accessible, sustainable energy to the general public by making solar technology available in public spaces to charge portable electronics. We are developing applications such as solar tables, outdoor solar benches, bus stops, blinds, posters, and on other public fixtures. Eventually, these devices will make an impact in public schools, city parks, restaurants, libraries, and other locations where people actively gather and use electronic devices. With these small, daily changes, our communities will be more engaged in improving our environment and quality of life.

With additional funding from the Ford College Community Challenge, we would further explore accessible solar applications for developing countries around the world, providing them with sustainable energy to support their electricity needs. Open Access Solar will work against pollution by increasing the use of renewable energy resources as we provide accessible, sustainable energy in public spaces. We are sparking a solar cell revolution that will change the way we use solar energy!

To learn more about their project, view their original winning entry, below.

The purpose of this project is to implement solar cells in a variety of small-scale public environments to trigger a solar cell revolution. This revolution can be enabled by ubiquitous and reliable solar cells spread throughout our communities and as a shared resource.

This project will explore and implement a variety of innovative solar technology applications including “solar table” designed for libraries and study halls. Equipping a table or desk close to a window with a sheet of solar cells capable of recharging batteries allows patrons to charge their phones and laptops from this renewable source while studying or reading. Students will test these solar tables in public areas at BYU, and then in Rock Canyon Elementary supporting STEM efforts for students. A variety of other public locations will follow including: cafeterias/restaurants, park picnic tables, and community benches. Ultimately, these solar cells can be hung vertically as “solar posters” at bus stops, window shades for cars, and “solar blinds” in offices.

After the initial Ford funding, it’s believed opportunities to partner with companies will be possible. For example, commercial entities such as restaurants will be interested in potentially placing solar tables near their windows. Selling additional devices to other universities and colleges throughout the country will also generate money.