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June 20th, 2013

Those trying to balance progress with respect for the Earth should be gratified to discover that a steadily increasing fraction of their personal carbon footprints can be eliminated by switching to alternative energy sources. While “grid parity” remains elusive, millions of homes are already powered by photovoltaic systems, and much progress has been made recently in the construction of solar panels. In fact, there have been enough advances in solar technology that millions of small devices can now be powered entirely off the grid. Let’s take a look at some of these back-to-the-future solar chargers.

fuse10w-solarThe Fuse 10W Solar Laptop Charger from Voltaic gets the prize for longest name, but also gets an “attaboy” for being a futuristic flexible panel. Spread it across a tent in camp, or wrap it around a backpack while hiking, and every hour of direct sun gets you half an hour of MacBook time. Naturally, the Fuse can keep your tablets, handheld games, and other devices charged and ready, too.

Goal Zero solar kitGoal Zero wants to be known as “the solar charger for the adventurer,” and makes a range of products to satisfy both amateurs and pros. The company donated solar chargers to victims of Hurricane Sandy who had lost power, bringing them light, heat, and outside communications (Goal Zero models resuscitate dead smartphones instantly and fully charge them in three hours). Unfold one of the durable solar panel kits to charge your rechargeable devices, or pack it all up and use the built-in LED light on most models to illuminate the dark trails back to camp after an all-day hike.

The GoMadic's Solar SystemSunVolt model comes from Gomadic, a new firm born as a Kickstarter project. The device is somewhat larger than the others in this roundup, with panels that fold-and-pack into a carrying case. With those larger panels and beefier specs, of course, you get plugged-in-the-wall charging speeds for phones, tablet PCs, laptop rentals, and cameras.

SolarMio-kindle-chargerThe nifty little SolarMio Kindle cover is one “personal solar product” that tries to do one thing and do it well. If they charge their e-readers in the daytime sun, Kindle users can read through the night. In addition to charging duties, the SolarMio offers energy storage, as well—up to 50 hours’ worth. That’s a one-trick pony with a big trick.

Joos OJoosOrange Solar Chargerrange chargers are small, 8×6-inch panels that will give you double the talk time of the charge (an hour of sun nets two hours of phone time). But you don’t have to limit your stored-up energy to phones alone, so you can keep your iPad rental, camera, and Bluetooth headpiece all charged up, too. Bonus: A free app keeps you apprised of how much power is being stored during charging, and tracks usage, too.

If you take media reporting on energy issues with a grain (or 1,000) of salt, and remain skeptical of marketing claims dressed up in scientistic verbiage, you can adjust smoothly and gradually to “emergent” technologies that promise a better future. There are occasional bolts out of the blue, this is true, but much of our tech progress comes from plodding along, step by step, and working both harder and smarter. More often than not, that’s what hastens the future, after all.

At CRE we are future-oriented, too—but our primary concern is what you need today, and how we can tend to your unique needs and challenges right now. Whether it’s render farms to push that post project to completion, or an LCD touchscreen monitor rental to entice people to your conference booth, we are ready to help. Call (877) 266-7725, send us a message, or use the Quick Rental Quote form to get what you need right away. We are here, and we’re here for you! Call now!

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