Cool Solar

nym | 08:35 PM

Every cyborg loves solar energy, it's limitless, quiet, and nowadays, much more portable. No longer are solar panels being built only for the home and industrial sectors.

Thanks to IPC Solar Technologies, maker of the iSun consumer solar panels, better solutions are emerging for the individual and outdoors man markets. The first is the rollable PowerFLEX, which are available in 5, 10, 20, and 40 watt versions (much better than the iSun's 2.2 watts). [source i4u]

The second is much more rugged and fully waterproof, and is being made in conjunction with Coleman. It's called the Coleman 50200 Exponent Flex 5 (try saying that five times fast), and is only $99 from amazon. Not bad for this 5 watt solar panel.

"The flexible solar are made with durable CIGS solar cells, a material proven to be very stable and long-lived, even when subjected to the rigors of extreme radiation in space. The solar panels work also under cloudy and rainy skies. The ICP Solar panels are designed to power 12V batteries and Gadgets." [from i4u]

IPC's new technology is excellent stuff for wearables, and the company has already partnered with wearable computing clothing manufacturer, scottevest. They plan to introduce their solar clothing for $300 in the spring of 2005, but any serious cyborg will want some more power.

"The jacket has two small snap-on photovoltaic panels that fit onto its shoulders. These charcoal-gray solar panels convert the sun's rays into energy, which then feed a hidden battery pack about the size of a deck of cards. The batteries are wired to all the pockets, which can have almost any mobile devices plugged into them." [wired news]

So when exactly will we see this tech in backpacks? It seems like a logical jump. I found this other company which sells units designed to go on hiking packs. Not classy like IPC's stuff, but certainly good for the technomadic hiker at 20.2 watts.