five non blondes

Solar chargers
January 16, 2008, 8:18 pm
Filed under: environmental issues, savvy tools | Tags: ,
I’ve been doing a lot of research on solar chargers in preparation for the greener gadgets competition and I wanted to share some of my findings. The technology has come a long way and continues to advance as consumers demand it more in the general market.  There are now many handheld chargers available to power your cell phones and ipods.  Check out this article from reviewing 5 or 6 different types.  They range in cost.  One person claimed to get the solar style model for only $20 on ebay.  The 3 prong solio runs you around $100, which seems more typical in price.  One of my favorites remains the company soldius since they’ve perfected some kind of secret technology called Maximum Solar Power tracking that can collect energy much faster- charging your phone in 2-3 hours vs. the solio that takes 5-7 hours.
Another important feature that the Solio has, that I want to include in our tool charger, is having an integral battery that can charge itself and automatically transfer that to the tool battery (or phone battery) as soon as you plug it in.  That way you can leave it lying in the window all day, plug in whenever you feel like it and get an almost instantaneous charge.
Just yesterday I saw that a new design to charge laptops has been released from Voltaic systems.  It’s a laptop bag with a solar panel on the outside.  Good idea, but it costs you around $500.  Who’s got that kind of money?  As one of my friends put it, “I could carbon offset my entire life for probably 3-5 years at that price.”  I couldn’t agree more.voltaic-generator-bag.jpg
So, maybe it’s not an easily attainable energy source for everyone just yet, but there is hope.  The first generation of solar panels we see on roofs are usually crystal silicon that are expensive and energy intensive to manufacture and run.  The second generation are made from copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), a mix of exotic metals that are either toxic or very rare and they’re obviously difficult to recycle.  With these, it seems like we’re trading one evil for another.  There is a third generation of solar technology using dye sensitized solar cells.  They previously required a volatile organic solvent to work, but scientists have now figured out a way to make a solvent free solar cell.  It allows for a much more inexpensive manufacturing process using common materials and is less toxic.  There still aren’t many on the market, but that seems to be changing and I’m sure as demand increases, newer, more efficient, less expensive, and less toxic solutions will be discovered.  We just have to keep pushing for them.
-Rebecca, San Francisco

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Solar Battery Chargers come in hand when you are on the go. Who would’ve thought? Silicon Solar has different and lightweight Travel Solar Battery Chargers from Ipod Chargers to Laptop Chargers.

For solar panels, lights, fountains and integrated solar hot water and pv systems, visit

Comment by siliconsolar08


Comment by battech

new state of the art solar charger / swiss solarcard

Comment by Dan Wilson

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