products by: Barbara Essien

A First: My Run-In With BigBelly

July 27, 2014

Sullivan Solar Power is a San Diego based alternative energy firm that I am proud to be employed by. The company's headquarters is of course located in the sunny city however, much like a ranked Fastest Growing Company should, the Sullivan team has expanded into other realms of influence. 

The business extends to both Riverside and Irvine, and at times assistance is needed from the IT department that happens to be located at the main base. Many problems can be solved remotely, but now and then an IT member takes a trip to one of these offices to fix any issues that require a physical presence to be resolved. As it is, I am an affiliate of this sector although, I had never seen the inside of either workplace. It was only a matter of time before my director decided that I should venture to one of our satellite offices.

My first train ride to the Irvine was serene and mesmerizing. While a tablet was situated before me, to my right, out the window, was the southern California coastline cruising by. In between taking photos, I watched the beach roll by before I decided to turn on my device and get to work. My assignment at the time was to find a news worthy topic.

BigBelly solar panel

I thought insight on solar powered products would be ideal.

I scoured the internet and found an array of items I had no idea was ever innovated or created. The web revealed more than solar powered calculators (the one item I knew of). It provided me knowledge on tents, headphones, loungers, fountains, chargers and even clothes that all possessed different sized solar panels that allowed the creation to function. The list went on, but before long, I heard over the intercom that my destination was being approached. I did not have the opportunity to decide on a finite topic and begin writing.

I hopped off the train, and continued taking pictures. With time to spare before checking into the Irvine office, I decided to walk around the station a bit. As I passed the small café, something familiar caught my eye. It was a trash bin. Of course they are nothing new, but this one was different. I walked up to it and realized where I had seen it before. It made up part of the solar powered products list. Every item was accompanied by an image, and what was before me was one of those images. I was intrigued, and thought, how coincidental. My first solar news topic was decided by fate to be what I soon learned to be called BigBelly.

The trash bin was manufactured by BigBelly Solar, formerly known as Seahorse Power.

BigBelly and train

While the company renamed itself due to the compactor's success of reducing fossil fuel consumption, the object alone takes on the name well as it has the capacity of more than 500 liters. With a chain-driven appliance deprived of hydraulic fluids, and a 5.3kN force, BigBelly increases its volume by 5. It functions using a 12 volt battery preserved by the solar panel that tops it. Additionally, a Collection, Logistics, Efficiency and Notification (CLEAN) system allows for a degree of monitoring that not only tracks the battery's reserves (about 3 weeks), but also permits collection optimization. This results in less pick up trips which happens to add to fossil fuel emissions by trucks. Other perks of BigBelly is the option for it to be accompanied by a bin for recyclables, and that no odor rises from it. It is also low maintenance while it only requires annual lubrication of the front door. This solar powered product is recognized as a tool for decreasing levels of litter as well as costs.

It is understood that I have only recently encountered this innovation in a city far from my own, yet it is safe to say that more and more BigBelly's will pop up on street corners. It will not only help keep communities clean, but promote the benefits of clean energy. Once I finished snapping shots and awing at the solar powered trash compactor, I made my way to the office with an updated outlook on how the Solar Energy Revolution is in full effect.

    BigBelly and cafe  BigBelly and cafe

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