James Montgomery, Associate Editor, RenewableEnergyWorld.com
December 13, 2013 | 1 Comments
Solar Power Device Chargers
Those who live in the interconnected digital world have one thing in common: we need to power our devices, often multiple ones, at any given time or location. The problem: try finding a power outlet at any given point in time, from the airport to a vehicle to the great outdoors. This has given birth to a new industry: solar-powered device chargers, from covers and cases to standalone flexible mini modules and power packs. There are innumerable options out there. Suntactics sells portable solar chargers that will juice up a variety of USB devices, claiming they're more efficient, lightweight, durable, and water resistant. Plus you can get a 10-percent discount if you order now (use coupon code"XMAS10"). Other solar chargers are available from Goal Zero (e-mail them for a shot at daily giveaways), PowerTraveller, Instapark, Bushnell, and Solio.
Some chargers come directly built into the device case itself. SolarFocus offers a range of solar power device-charging options, from Kindle covers to standalone minipanels to a larger pack of panels that fold up like a briefcase. Boost Solar's solar-powered battery pack charges most smartphones and tablets. KudoCase sells a solar-charging iPad case using organic PV ink material for around $90, but it's currently out of stock. Hammacher Schlemmer sells what appears to be that same product for $200, also currently unavailable.
For something a little more robust, EnerFusion's Solar Power Dok is essentially a picnic table with a solar-panel canopy, made from recycled materials. They've sold a number of them to college campuses; here's one of their newer installations in Boise State's vibrant blue-orange colors. Similarly, there's CarrierClass's ConnecTable solar charging station, for everything from campuses to resorts and parks.
(P.S.: While you're browsing Hammacher Schlemmer, be sure to check out their other top-shelf things that you never knew you wanted: an indoor marshmallow roaster, a speaker made from a Formula 1 racing car exhaust manifold, one of the last remaining World War II patrol torpedo boats, or a hungry clam sauna.)