The traditional red phone box, once a familiar sight on Britain’s streets, used to provide a quick and simple way to communicate while traveling. However, as smartphones have become essential parts of our everyday lives, thousands of iconic booths have fallen out of use and been consigned to waste dumps. In a bid to preserve their presence, enterprising companies have turned them into free WiFi hotspots, but others believe they can also serve as the perfect place for mobile users to grab some extra charge while on the move. Solarbox took the wraps off the first of six such kiosks in Tottenham Court Road, London last week, offering commuters and tourists the opportunity to top-up their device for free.
The boxes have gone green in more ways than one: They’ve been given a fresh coat of paint and have an 86cm solar panel mounted to the roof. There’s also a reinforced screen fixed inside the booth that displays ads as people wait for their phone to charge. The Solarbox is open between 5:30am and 11:30pm, 365 days a year and can charge up to 100 phones per day. It’s also capable of delivering a 20 percent battery boost in 10 minutes — perfect if you need a bit of extra juice to file your TPS report while on the train home.