London’s iconic but now underutilized red phone booths get new life this week with an initiative called Solarbox, which allows users to charge their cellphones for free through solar power. The first of six planned solarboxes opened on Tottenham Court Road on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Former geography students at the London School of Economics Harold Craston and Kirsty Kenny created the boxes, equipping them with 34-inch solar panels and painting them green, the BBC reports. The boxes can add a 20 percent battery charge in about 10 minutes and can charge 100 phones a day. The service is free, but users will see advertisements from sponsors like Tinder and Uber.
The inaugural solarbox on Tottenham Court Road has seen about six users an hour since its unveiling. “On launch day, my phone ran out of battery, and I genuinely had to use the box,” Cranston told the BBC. The next solarbox will open in January.