Going Off the Grid with Solar Chargers and Solar Battery Chargers
These days, it’s increasingly rare to spend even an hour without using an electronic device. Whether it’s your smartphone, laptop, or iPod, chances are (unless you’re some kind of Thoreauvian back-to-nature wolf-child) that you’re more tethered to electronics than ever before.
Charging these devices overnight, at work, or in the car is now a deeply ingrained habit for most of us. We don’t want to have our cellphones dying during the day or our computers crashing and erasing hours of hard work, after all.
But what if you’re out on a hiking trip and don’t have access to an outlet? Or, perhaps more importantly, what if you’re one of the hundreds of millions of people without electricity in their homes? Portable solar-powered chargers may provide the answer.
Portable Solar Chargers and Solar Battery Chargers
A number of manufacturers are now promoting small-scale solar chargers that can charge phones and other electronics. Some charge internal batteries that can then hold the charge for later use, while others convert sunlight directly into current with no intermediary storage system.
Solio, Nokero, Sunforce, Freeloader, Kodak, and Brunton are some of the companies promoting these new solar chargers. Many of them are marketing solar chargers as a practical option for charging phones and small electronics while traveling, in remote locations, or in emergency situations. Others are pushing them as a possible energy solution for less developed areas of the world.
For whatever reason, most do not promote their products as a way to start drawing power from sustainable sources and reduce consumption via the largely coal-power-based grid–even though our energy demands increasingly come from electronic devices like cellphones, laptops, GPS navigation systems, and mp3 players.
In any case, it’s still too early to predict the popularity and commercial success or failure of these devices. Cost may be prohibitive in developing countries and people in more developed countries may have little use for them. However, if the global shift toward renewable resources is any indication, they may soon be a common household item.