With the debate on global warming and climate change, renewable energy resources, such as solar energy, are being considered. If solar energy is to make a major utility contribution, it will need to be more ubiquitous in today’s society. The research described hereafter analyzes the use of Solar in Public Spaces (SPS). SPS is defined as solar energy used in the public domain to power electronics away from the electric grid. This research specifically examines the viability of integrating solar panels into existing surfaces to charge portable electronics. Viability is evaluated using three criteria: (1) user interaction, (2) technical feasibility, and (3) cost analysis. User interaction is primarily focused on usage trends, user preferences, and user concerns. Technical feasibility includes shading effects, weather effects, and solar panel/battery sizing. Cost analysis is considered using energy savings, portability savings, and motivations.The research objective is answered through eleven research questions. All research questions are answered using surveys together with data from six different charging devices placed around Brigham Young University (BYU) campus. Surveys are used to add validity and support conclusions drawn from charging device data. A model is also developed to estimate solar panel and battery sizing needed to account for differences in geographical locations, incident solar power, weather, temperature, daylight hours, shading, and usage. All research questions are answered and demonstrate that solar panels integrated into existing surfaces is a viable solution for charging portable electronics in public spaces under the circumstances discussed herein



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





Solar Devices in Public Spaces, SPS, Solar Charging Stations in Public Spaces, Portable Electronics