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Signage and Solar Panels – Sustainability and Digital Paper, Part 2

Posted by Carolyn Tusinski on 2021-01-13

Solar energy – how much do we love solar energy? The warm rays of the sun creating temperate weather and nourishing plant life. When we are deprived of sunlight, we can become irritable and unhappy. During the pandemic, our outside spaces allowed us to gather and enjoy something close to our formerly normal life. Earth would be a very unfriendly place without the sun.

Brian Barth of Massachusetts Environmental Planning and Design describes solar energy as “a sustainable energy and is inherently more sustainable than fossil fuel energy sources. As a way of converting the sun’s energy into electrical energy, solar panels make use of the single most sustainable resource on the planet – the light of the sun.” https://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/energy-efficiency/is-solar-energy-sustainable.

In addition to plant life, what else can be powered by the sun? Solar panels on homes, businesses, and in fields are storing energy across the world. A very natural fit for solar energy is digital paper. The low power requirements of digital paper – only requiring energy to refresh the image – make it easy to incorporate solar panels and storage cells in outdoor installations.

Several manufacturers of kiosks and outdoor signage have incorporated solar powered E Ink Digital Paper in their products. Following are some examples already serving the community. More ideas are coming off the drawing board and into production very soon.

In Cambridge, MA, Soofa has developed an information kiosk. Solar energy is collected and stored to power the information kiosk. More than just information, the kiosk displays advertisement. What distinguishes the Soofa kiosk from traditional ads is that it can also record and report impressions - through SoofaTalk. In effect, the kiosk ad performs like a web ad. Oh, and it’s powered by the sun. Renewable through wifi updates. Here is an example of a kiosk in Atlanta - http://www.soofa.co/blog/atlantas-park-tavern-uses-soofa-signs-to-connect-beyond-their-neighborhood.


Another player in the kiosk market is SolStreet of Brooklyn, NY. SolStreet incorporates Digital Paper into a combination kiosk and bench which can be used to recharge digital devices. In addition to information and charging, the kiosk/bench configuration can be an outdoor gathering place for reconnecting with people as well as the news of the day. Click to read more details on their application - https://solstreet.net/article/solstreet-supports-covid-19-workers-university-hospital-newark.

twitter-In-Stream_Tall___2019 Solstreet TimesSQ 51

Another market for information kiosks is transportation. Around the world, Digital Paper has been incorporated into bus stops and train stations to provide arrival times in real time. If there are delays or disturbances, the transportation kiosk will update and alert riders in the moment. The natural attribute of bistability in Digital Paper – the characteristic which allows the last image to remain on the display in the event of a power outage – makes Digital Paper a superior technology in emergency situations. Specific emergency messages can be displayed long after the power is cut or the battery discharges.

Papercast, headquartered in London and with offices in Slovenia and Japan, has many installations around the globe. In Abu Dhabi, bus stations in high traffic areas have been outfitted with Papercast bus stop displays – 175 in all. Mr. Aspi Kapadia, Vice President of Energy International, commented, “The sunlight readable, solar powered e-paper displays from Papercast offered the most effective solution – without the need to pull power and data cables. Wirelessly connected to the Papercast content management system, the DoT is able to easily control the display content.” See the entire article here - https://www.papercast.com/customer/papercast-e-paper-displays-help-with-public-transport-use-in-abu-dhabi/.


All of these installations have something in common – they were quick and easy to install. They did not require major public works involvement, digging up streets and sidewalks to run power lines and otherwise disrupting the heavily traveled locations in which they were placed. These installations succeeded because of the solar energy available to them. For international digital signage manufacturer GDS of Italy, Digital Paper kiosk installations are business as usual. Click the link for an example of Digital Paper brand e-Tela - https://displays.gds.com/portfolio_page/e-tela-transportation/. To watch a real installation, check out their YouTube channel.


In short, the sun and E Ink Digital Paper are excellent partners in outdoor signage, transportation, wayfinding, and community building. What will you build with Digital Paper?

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