By Andrés Uribe, Expedition PR
New Yorkers, traditionally powered by rooftop cocktails and weekends in the Hamptons during the summer months, are now opening up to a new source of power, the sun. With the potential of clean energy, and solar power in particular, on the tip of everyone’s tongues these days, it’s no wonder that the greatest city in the world (NYC) has become a stage for showing off the potential for the technology. Here are four solar powered spectacles that are rocking NYC this summer:
PlanetSolar – First a foremost in our books is Switzerland’s MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, the world’s largest solar powered boat. This is truly an impressive display of the potentials of solar power. PlanetSolar is 31 meters long and runs solely off the power collected from the 516 m2 of solar panels that cover the top deck of the boat. PlanetSolar is currently in the midst of a world tour aimed at promoting the potential for practical uses of solar power. NYC was fortunate enough to be able to host the boat in the North Cove Marina from June 17th-20th. You can track the boat in real time as it continues on to Boston and beyond as part of the world tour.
Cell Charging Stations – After an initial successful trail run in 2012, Goal Zero, Pensa, and AT&T have teamed up to bring solar powered cell phone charging stations to NYC. The program, named Street Charge, has already hit Fort Greene Park, and is planned to expand to Brooklyn Bridge Park, Coney Island, Governor’s Island, Union Square, and Summerstage in Central Park. Each charging station features six USB outlets with connectors for a variety of popular smartphones. The Street Charge stations are only planned to make a summer appearance, so check them out while you can.
SolarImpulse – Also a Swiss project, Solar Impulse is the first solar powered plane that is able to fly both day and night. Able to take off under it’s own power, the single-seater monoplane features a wingspan of 208 feet and a cruising speed of 43 mph. The plane will be wrapping up it’s U.S. tour in the beginning of July in none other than NYC. Look for Solar Impulse to be on display in JFK airport.
Citi Bikes – If you’ve walked around NYC lately, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the bright blue Citi Bikes rolling around the city. This is all part of a bike share program that allows user to purchase a membership for anywhere from a day to an entire year, and take as many rides (up to 45 min at a time) as they’d like throughout the duration of their membership. The bikes are conveniently located at docking stations all around the city…solar powered docking stations! The stations harness enough solar power to electronically lock all the bikes at the station and power a payment system that accepts credit cards.
Although these are all great initiatives, it is only the beginning. If you know of another practical example of solar power at work, be sure to leave us a comment, we always like to hear how our world is moving toward a sustainable future.
Full disclosure: The Swiss Consulate of NYC and PlanetSolar partnered with Expedition PR for the boat’s PR program in NYC.