Earlier this month, we introduced you to some really cool public solar charging stations dubbed Strawberry Trees.
For those who missed the article, here is a brief:
Strawberry Trees are the creation of a Serbian startup named Strawberry energy that has made it its goal to make clean energy more appealing to the general public.
The charging stations, one of which pictured above, work by harvesting solar power. Whatever green electricity is produced in this manner can be used by passers-by to charge their gadgets.
In some cases, the charging stations provide not just free energy, but also free Wifi.
We’ve had the chance to have a chat with the folks behind Strawberry energy, and we have been bold enough to ask them some questions.
They’ve been cool to answer and so an interview was born.
Without further ado, here is what we wanted to know and what they told us:
Softpedia: First off, could you tell me how and why you’ve settled on the name Strawberry Energy? Do you expect that this fairly odd moniker will help you get people's attention?
Strawberry energy: Actually there are a lot of reasons why strawberry. It is a herald of spring, it is the first fruit that ripens after a long and cold winter, thus symbolizes something new and fresh.
It is a symbol for innovativeness, leadership and youth which is certainly something that goes with our young and adventurous team. When you plant a strawberry, it grows and spreads fast, thus symbolizes also prosperity, expansion and progress.
Softpedia: On your website, you say that you want to make the world a better place. Are we to assume you think green energy has the potential to take the place of fossil fuels sometime in the future?
Strawberry energy: Yes, we at Strawberry energy strongly believe that one day the whole world will be powered by renewable energy sources.
It is the only acceptable future if we want to preserve our environment and save it for next generations. Old ways are not sustainable, usage of fossil fuels is limited and soon there will not be enough to power our modern lifestyles.
Some predictions say that we will run out of fossil fuels by 2088, some even earlier taking into consideration that population is growing, new areas are being electrified, new consumption habits are arising. No matter the exact calculation, that point is undoubtedly soon.
The positive thing is that the awareness is growing too, number of “green ambassadors” increases and cities are struggling to be “smart”, sustainable and carbon neutral.
This is where our Strawberry Trees fit in, as “green” urban furniture, solar hubs and a constant reminders of benefits of renewable energy sources.
Softpedia: Is there any particular reason why you decided to focus on solar power instead of other renewable energy sources such as wind or biomass?
Strawberry energy: Solar panels are most practical for installations in urban surroundings. When starting, our primary goal was putting renewable energy sources into people’s everyday lives by solving their problems.
Our concept was creating something that can serve to a lot of people and share renewable energy for free. Wind turbines demand vast spaces and are loud, thus mostly installed in a places remote from city centers.
Our wish was to put renewable energy on palm of every person’s hand and reach, meaning that they can literally see them (solar panels) and hopefully continue thinking about them and their advantages.
Softpedia: How do people react to your Solar Trees? Do you think these solar charging stations will one day become so popular that folks all around the world will use them to charge their gadgets?
Strawberry energy: It is something we strive and hope for. So far, we got a lot of positive reactions and support from people. When it comes to those who have our solar charging stations within reach, the number of more than 300.000 users is some kind of confirmation for us that people need them.
When “planted”, Strawberry Tree becomes an element that plays an active part in people’s lives where they can take a bit of Sun with themselves.
A great satisfaction for us is also when some ordinary citizen who only saw it in media or heard on some other way about it, sends us a message that would love to have a Strawberry Tree in his/her town.
These feedbacks inject a new energy for our team too, making us even more enthusiastic and vigorous to continue installing them.
Softpedia: Are your Solar Trees more popular among the younger generation, or do the elderly use them as well every once in a while?
Strawberry energy: As unique “sculpturally” shaped solar charging stations that are integral part of parks and city squares and really easy to use, Strawberry Trees are often an oasis for elders too.
In today’s world, everyone uses cell phones, from children to their grannies, and thus our solar chargers are beneficial tools for all generations.
Placed in a places with high traffic, Strawberry Tree as a green urban furniture and a social hub, enters natural flow of people’s everyday activities where people stop by to recharge and then continue with their everyday habits.
It is a special feeling when you see child, teenager and an elder person all gathered around an innovative technology. Of course, young people are more frequent users.
Softpedia: In your opinion, how important is it for the green energy industry not only to focus on developing new ways to harvest renewables, but also to educate the public about the advantages of relying on green energy sources instead of fossil fuels?
Strawberry energy: We believe that education is very important. When holding educational presentations in schools and at seminars, we always start with a saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.
Every action of every citizen matters, as when all efforts are summed, the huge impact and change is made.
Raising awareness is especially significant for the youngest ones, as those who are now just children will one day be the ones who will make decisions and guide our society in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
Softpedia: Do you have any big plans for the near future that you feel like sharing with us ordinary folks?
Strawberry energy: We are currently mainly focused on installing our Strawberry Trees abroad, in other European countries and well as across the ocean, to USA.
Efforts for our smaller Strawberry Mini Rural solar charger for rural areas, are directed toward delivering this valuable help to people who live without electricity in African villages.
The third model, Strawberry Mini is already reserved for the Das Fest in Germany, and will hopefully be official charging station at more events and festivals this year.
On the other hand, we are simultaneously developing new business model which will have some elements of digital advertising integrated with the network of Strawberry Trees, and we currently search for investors to support it.
If you feel like getting a better idea of what this company is up to, be sure to also check out the photo gallery below.