As mobile phones become more prevalent, the red telephone boxes in London lost their significance except for tourists who would usually take a snapshot beside one of London's most iconic sights. Soon, all these boxes will be transformed into more useful green solar boxes where people can have a quick stop in order to charge their mobile phones.
The green solar box is the brainchild of Kirsty Kenney and Harold Craston who came up with the smart idea more than a year ago while they were attending geography classes at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Both share a mutual interest in renewable energy and public space and how the latter is changing its significance in London.
The green solar box is equipped with four chargers which the people can use to power up their devices such as mobile phones and tablets. It uses an 86 cm customized bendy solar panel that is nestled on the roof which can charge up to 100 devices a day. Charging devices at night is also possible since there is energy that is stored in the charger batteries.
The first solarbox was unveiled outside Tottenham Court Road underground station along a busy intersection with London's Oxford Street, the city's main shopping destination. Some of the first to try it out were senior advisor for environment and energy Matthew Pencharz, environmentalist and MP for Richmond Park Zac Goldsmith and Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed.
Craston said that anyone can use the service for as long as they want. He added that the average usage time should fall between five to ten minutes. The green solarbox will also be cleaned on a daily basis.
"We wanted to show that we could use public spaces in a positive way, and that London should try to become more green," said Craston. He also commented that several phone boxes had lost their usefulness and would sometimes be used as toilets by those who are inebriated.
Plans to put a second solarbox are already underway with next year's January being the target month. Soon, there will be more solarboxes that would be sprawled all over London in the following months ahead. After all, the project has managed to attract funding, runner-up awards in the 2014 Low Carbon Entrepreneur competition, and the Mayor's support.
"In our modern world, where hardly any Londoner is complete without a raft of personal electronic gizmos in hand, it's about time our iconic phone boxes were updated for the 21st Century," said London Mayor Boris Johnson.