Posted in music, Solar and Alternative Energy

Solar-powered SXSW

As discussed at MIT Technology Review

[SXSW] conference organizers have collaborated with Austin-based Sol Design Lab to make the firm’s SolarPumps available at locations around downtown Austin.

The SolarPump is a free, solar-powered charging station for electric bikes, scooters, cell phones, and laptops–basically anything that uses a standard electric cord to charge. Beth Ferguson created the pump in February 2009 as her project for her MFA at the University of Texas at Austin. Ferguson combined the reclaimed body of a 1950’s gas station pump with solar panels to get people thinking about solar energy.

“We’ve used kind of a fun combination of 1950’s gas pumps with solar panels for people to really start questioning and seeing the humor and really start thinking about a new form of transportation and energy for the city,” she told Austin’s KVUE News.

The SolarPump combines 1950s vintage gas pumps with solar panels to create an electronics-charging station. © Sol Design Lab

This is an awesome idea and a great way to promote awareness of solar power, from its ease to its efficieny. I hope Sol Design Labs and its concept takes off, and I hope to see more of these solar kiosks pop up around sunny parts of the U.S. like California and Arizona.



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.

2 thoughts on “Solar-powered SXSW

  1. Great stuff! I really enjoyed this post – it’s certainly getting the message out there! Maybe I’ll see them soon in my area! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Renewable, alternative energy like the one derived from nontraditional sources such as sunlight, wind, or geothermal heat, that can replace traditional fossil-fuel sources, as coal, oil, and natural gas is the kind of energy we should all consider as the only alternative for the future.

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