London’s Canary Wharf is setting the pace for clean energy in the capital by awarding a coveted contract to a young Serbian business that promises to harness the power of the sun and covert it into free public energy.
The Cognicity Group has expressed its commitment for Strawberry Energy to launch a pilot project with four solar-powered ‘smart benches’ installed in the East London business and retail location.
Strawberry Energy and its entrepreneurial founder Miloš Milisavljević have won international acclaim for their green energy solutions from the European Commission and prestigious organisations in Europe and the US.
The successful Serbian business will use this London opportunity as a springboard to roll out further solar energy units across Britain.
Talks are advanced on plans to install similar units across Europe and in America.
Smart benches put sunshine in your pocket
“This opportunity will allow us to make life easier for the thousands of people who use Canary Wharf every day,’ said Strawberry Energy CEO Miloš Milisavljević, after the contract was announced at a reception in Canary Wharf on Thursday.
For three months, Miloš has been in London to consult with business leaders and present his company’s ideas as part of the Cognicity Challenge, sponsored by Intel.
This forward-thinking programme sought innovative smart city solutions for the UK and with specific relevance to the needs and future of Canary Wharf.
The end result is an all-new sympathetically designed unit that suits the needs of people living and working in Canary Wharf, and which could be relevant to many other public spaces in Britain, Europe and the US.
As well as a full range on connectors to charge most common mobile devices, the smart benches include an emergency call button and roof-mounted lights for safety.
Not only did Strawberry Energy win a contract to install four units in Canary Wharf – Miloš also walked away with a special ‘cool prize‘.
The needs of people should drive new technology.
“Smart city solutions should take account of the local environment and its needs if they are to be successfully adopted by people living and working there, ’ said Miloš, aged 27, from Obrenovac, near Belgrade.
“Our practical solution is an unobtrusive but attractive bench that provides a social place for people to sit, chat or enjoy lunch while plugging in and recharging their phones or tablets.
“Mobile technology is an increasing part of everyone’s daily life. With the Strawberry Bench, we can take the frustration out of realising that you have a flat battery when you want to use your device.”
As with the larger Strawberry Trees to be found across Serbian cities, these unique benches will capture the power of the sun via solar panels and convert it into free energy to recharge power-hungry mobile phones, tablets and other devices via a wide range of connectors.
Miloš hopes that this pilot scheme will be just the start of a greater project to help make free public solar chargers become commonplace.
“We will be speaking with businesses, developers and local authorities about planting Strawberry Trees and smart benches in city centres, parks, shopping precincts and university campuses across the UK,’ said Miloš.
“For a relatively small investment, planners, property owners and local authorities around Britain can deliver immense benefit to a large number of people.
“Solar energy can be a practical and free energy solution for everyone, including the people of Britain.
“We want to see Strawberry Trees and smart benches up and down the UK. This pilot scheme makes that possible.”