Keep your lights on and
your phone charged far
from the road this summer
— and on the cheap.
Can you afford solar? Even a student on a limited budget can afford a
tiny portable photovoltaic (PV) system for charging a lamp, cell phone,
digital camera, GPS or iPod while off on a backpacking trip. Here are a
few solar products you can find in sporting goods shops right now.
High Gear SolarPod
The SolarPod (about $50) features a miniature PV panel pumping out 0.4 watt. Hang it in the sun to charge the lithium-ion
battery in about eight hours. Or charge the battery from a USB
port. Then it’s ready to recharge a wide variety of cell phones
or run anything that will take a mini-USB plug. With a battery capacity of 0.65 amp-hour, SolarPod weighs 2. 4 oz ( 68 g).
SolLight Lightcap 300
For about $30, you can slide this cleverly designed water
bottle into the top pocket of your backpack, and it will
charge up while riding along during the day. At night,
turn on the bright white LED lamp and the water bottle
becomes a lantern, lighting up a tent or picnic table for up
to eight hours. A red LED nightlight mode glows for up to
16 hours. The Lightcap 200 version (about $20) is the cap
alone, to fit on any wide-mouth plastic bottle. sollight.com
54 July/August 2010 SOLAR TODAY solartoday.org
Copyright © 2010 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.