26 January 2018 Photo Oteng Mpete
Solar charging stations ready for use
Students and staff will be able to enjoy the new social space equipped for studying or leisure activities.

Solar charging stations were recently launched on the Bloemfontein Campus. These units can be used by students to charge their phones, tablets, and iPads. Solar charging units will be installed on the University of the Free State’s BloemfonteinSouth, and Qwaqwa Campuses.

Social spaces make for happy faces

A new central social space where students can eat, socialise, study, and relax is one of several exciting developments that UFS students can look forward to on campus. The social space can be found in the open area between the Biology Building, Chemistry Building, and the West Block on the Bloemfontein Campus.*

“The space consists of concrete benches with roof coverings, paving, and electrical supply points fed by solar power for students to charge their cellphones or laptops,” says Maureen Khati, Assistant Director: Project Management, Facilities Planning.

Solar panels have already been installed on top of various buildings on all three campuses, for example, 1 280 solar panels on the roof of the Thakaneng Bridge on the Bloemfontein Campus. The computer laboratories and the projected Afromontane Research Centre on the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses will be equipped with freestanding solar roof solutions.

The project was a collaborative effort between the UFS and FCE Consulting Engineers. Coenie van der Merwe, Prototype Design Engineer, played a vital role in designing the charging unit.

“A symbol of affordable
opportunities that will
both save the planet and
enhance financial sustainability.”
Prof Nicky Morgan
Former Vice-Rector: Operations

Project to enhance sustainability and address student needs

Prof Nicky Morgan, former Vice-Rector: Operations, says, “This should be a symbol of affordable opportunities that will both save the planet and enhance financial sustainability.” Nico van Rensburg, Senior Director of University Estates, says, “This renewable energy project is an innovative way of addressing student needs.”

However, students are advised not to charge other electrical appliances besides their phones and iPads at the charging stations, as this may cause the charging unit to trip.

The UFS was recently awarded for its contribution towards sustainability. This was in recognition of its amazing initiative to install and operate photovoltaic (PV) and greywater systems on all three of its campuses.

* Download the UFS Campus Navigator from the Google Play Store for your Android device or from the App Store for the Apple iPhone.

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