Students can now charge their electronic devices outside at solar-powered umbrellas located on the Hill.
The Renewable Energy Association at UCLA and the UCLA Housing and Hospitality Services installed four solar panel umbrellas outside of Bruin Café last Wednesday. The REA is a project-based organization that implements renewable energy technologies on campus.
The REA’s Solar Team initiated the project to expand solar energy and may establish more umbrellas on the Hill if the umbrellas are well-received by students, said Emma Sorrell, the sustainability manager for UCLA Housing and Hospitality Services.
The Green Initiative Fund, which collects a $4 quarterly student fee to fund sustainability projects, provided funding for the project to expand solar installations on campus and to create more charging ports for students, said Gurjot Kohli, co-lead for the REA’s Solar Team and a second-year environmental science student.
The REA decided to install umbrellas at Bruin Café because it receives sufficient sunlight and a lot of student traffic, Sorrell added.
“It’s such a centralized location that we thought that would be a good place to start,” Sorrell said. “A lot of students will get the benefit of using them.”
The umbrellas have USB ports that students can use to charge devices such as phones, Sorell said.
Sorrell added the REA may relocate the umbrellas to other areas on the Hill.
“The umbrellas are transportable and may be moved in the future based on what that response rate is,” Sorrell said. “We want to make sure they’re providing value before expanding to other locations.”
In addition to providing solar energy to charge devices, the umbrellas are mainly meant to expose students to the uses of solar technology, Kohli said.
“We want to increase awareness of sustainable energy efforts on the Hill, and this was one tangible way,” Kohli said. “Other UC schools like Berkeley and Irvine have some form of umbrellas, and we wanted to spread them at UCLA to show them we aren’t falling behind.”
UCLA has installed solar umbrellas in multiple locations around campus, including the Kerckhoff patio.
Several students said they think the solar umbrellas are useful and plan to use them in the future.
Gillian Moore, a first-year business and economics student, thinks solar panel umbrellas are good for the environment and thinks the umbrellas are convenient because they are located on the Hill.
Jason Ordonio, a first-year microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics student, said he plans to use the umbrellas at Bruin Café when he studies outside.