Mount Hood CC uses solar picnic tables as chargers


by KGW reporter Keely Chalmers

Posted on June 5, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 6 at 6:16 AM

PORTLAND -- You could call it the picnic table of the future.

Mt. Hood Community College has put in three state-of-the-art solar charging stations that are also outdoor tables.

Now students at the college can study, eat, or just lounge outside at one of tables while the table charges their phones, laptops, or iPads using only the power of the sun.

Panels on the table’s umbrella absorb solar energy.

That energy is passed through the post and stored in a battery inside the table's base.

A digital meter lets students know how much energy they're actually using.

And the "greenness" doesn't stop there.

The tables themselves are made completely from recycled milk jugs.

Mt. Hood is the first community college in the nation to use the gadgets.

“Being before UC Berkeley and Stanford and all of those huge amazing universities, it says something and it sets a precedence for what we're about,” said student body president William Miller.

For those who may wonder if the tables will work during Oregon's cloudy winter and fall months, the manufacturer says they only need a few hours of daylight, not direct sun, to get a full charge.

The college put in three of the solar picnic tables at a cost of about $10,000 each.

They were a gift paid for by the student body through fees collected by the student government.