Posts Tagged ‘solar’

12 Things Xmas list, fin

December 23rd, 2009 No comments

OK, my final post about Xmas gifts. These last two both have to do with time, and would be excellent gifts for anyone, regardless of weather they are into “being green”, like me, or not.

First, the Citizen “Eco-Drive” Solar Powered Watch.


This super stylish watch has a solar panel background that keeps the watch running for months at a time. It’s $131 with a quality name to back it up. I know they say this is a man’s watch, but it could be unisex, easy.

Via Inhabitat’s Green Gift Guide

Finally the Water Powered Clock by Green Stamp.


About $16 these clocks run off water, not batteries. So instead of tossing and buying batteries every year, just fill up the can.
I like the green one, btw.

Via Coolest Gadgets

Solar bags by Noon Solar

August 24th, 2009 No comments

I almost hate to interrupt the steady stream of Google/AT&T/Apple related topics that have been dominating GadgetMeter these last few weeks (kudos to you, Quang Ly, for fighting the good fight!) but sometimes a break is a good thing.
I’m heading out of the realm of “Serious Corporate Land” into “Eco Friendly Accessories World”.
So, I’m the kind of person that rides my bike most places. I’m also the kind of person who is rarely without my phone and ipod (I’m too scared to take my laptop on my bike because I know the minute I do something bad will happen). Anyway, the other day I was busy texting while laying out by Barton Springs Pool and my phone battery died! If only I had one of THESE:

solar powered courier bag

I could have charged it up right then and there!
These new bags by Noon Solar integrate flexible solar panels into their design. They have several styles of both messenger bags and purses and they are made from either German leather or organic hemp or cotton.
The solar power is stored in a lithium-ion battery pack, weighing about 4oz, found inside the bag. Because the solar power is stored inside a battery pack, cell phones and iPods can be charged day or night.

From their website: Noon Solar bags are made from biodegradable materials so that the bags can skip the landfill and go directly into your backyard without hurting the earth. The bags are safe and non-toxic, and most of the materials will actually nourish the earth if buried. The other materials such as the solar panel and hardware can be removed and recycled or reused.
solar bag 2

And after reading their design philosophy I’m about ready to drop the several hundred dollars required to purchase one of their bags.
This is a company whose products AND philosophy I am ready to support. And that in and of itself is a rare thing these days.


Solar plane prototype

July 22nd, 2009 No comments

Last month the prototype of a new solar-powered aircraft was unveiled at a Swiss airfield by it’s future pilots and promoters Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg.

Solar Impulse
Solar Impulse wings

It’s called the Solar Impulse HB-SIA and is designed to fly both day and night without the need for fuel. It should begin test flights by the end of the year.
There have been two other notable solar planes designed and tested in the last decade, Qinetiq’s Zephyr and NASA’s Helios.
The former is specifically an unmanned aircraft and the latter unfortunately went down in the Pacific after a structural failure.

The goal of the Solar Impulse is the prove the business viability and profitability of renewable energy.
“If an aircraft is able to fly day and night without fuel, propelled solely by solar energy, let no one come and claim that is impossible to do the same thing for motor vehicles, heating and air conditioning systems ,and computers,” Piccard said.

After this year’s test flight, a night flight is scheduled for 2010 to test the plane’s ability to stay in the air for 36 hours without the need for fuel.
In 2012 the team plans to fly the next generation Solar Impulse around the world in a 5 leg trip over six days.

I have to say I’m very impressed and excited about these tests. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more solar energy integrated into aeronautics in the near future since the emissions from airplanes is a major source of carbon in the atmosphere.


Categories: Green Technology Tags: , ,

New solar roof tiles

July 21st, 2009 No comments

Living in Austin I tend to see more than your average amount of solar panels. Not only do we get a lot of sunshine here (and I mean A LOT), but people here are really into getting their energy in an ecologically friendly way. I know solar energy isn’t quite there yet (by “there” I mean “sustainable” and “affordable” to the average person), but I try to pay attention to the advances so one day, when I’ve finally achieved the “dream” of home ownership, I’ll have a good idea of how to make my own house close to the ideal zero carbon foot print.
And the other day I found this:

Picture 1

A company called SRS Energy has partnered with US Tile, a leading manufacturer of Spanish, slate and shake roof tiles, to design solar panels with the exact shapes of their clay counterparts.
The idea is that more people will likely integrate solar paneling into their roofs if it is more aesthetically appealing. Good idea. Solar panels are kinda fugly, not that it ever bothered ME any. I’m more of a “greater good” kinda person.
But builders and designers obviously take aesthetics into consideration (especially when people are spending the kind of money you would have to spend on a house like the one in this photo) and I think this is an excellent practical solution. And I have to say I think it looks pretty damn good. Hopefully we don’t all have to own million dollar homes in order to get solar tiles. But I guess they have to start somewhere.

The US Tile’s Solé Power Tile system will begin to be installed in homes this November by contractors that have taken the company’s Solé certification class.
The current incarnation of these tiles are said to be able to convert 8-10% of the sun’s energy into electricity. That’s a little behind the 20% that traditional solar panels are capable of, unfortunately, but a representative from SRS energy claims the overall efficiency of the system makes up for the difference. I hope that is true.

I yearn for the day that photovotaic cells can outproduce the amount of energy it takes to make and ship them, and do it at an affordable price in a reasonable amount of time. Hopefully this initiative will help achieve that goal. It’s definitely a step.


Solar camping!

July 20th, 2009 No comments

How often do you go camping just to find yourself messing with inadequate battery or gas powered lamps? Or the inability to charge your cell phone (I know I know, you camp to get AWAY from people, but sometimes you just need your phone)?
Well I found a few green (or semi-green at least) camping solutions while prowling the internet the other day… all of them having to do with solar powered tents!
First the Woods Solar Powered EZ-Tent:

Picture 1

The tent itself is OK (though materials still consist of PVC which is less than desirable when trying to go green). Essentially there is a solar panel that powers the set of internal integrated LED lights. The solar energy can also be used to charge batteries. It takes 4-6 hours of direct light (or 6-8 hours of indirect) to yield 2-4 hours tent light. The tent comes in 4 and 6 person versions and run $180 to $220 respectively.

Second is the much cooler Recharge Pod built by Orange in the UK and created for last years Glastonbury Music festival.

Picture 2

The tent has 500-watt solar panels and a 500-watt wind turbine to generate electricity so patrons can charge their phones while at the festival. Great idea, but would be cool to make a personal use production model.

Finally, the coolest of the three by far, and the one I’m just salivating to get my hands on even though it is still in concept mode…

Picture 3

Again created by Orange, this time in conjunction with Kaleidoscope, and unveiled at this years Glastonbury Music Festival, this solar tent not only looks comfortable and functional, it has really been taken to the next level. It uses the new flexible photovoltaics that have recently been developed and will be covered in semi-photovoltaic fabric woven with both coated solar threads and conventional threads to form a solar shell that could be adjusted to get the most sun throughout the day. The Solar enegery would be channeled into four main power uses: heating, lighting, communications and recharging.

One of the unique features includes a wireless charging pouch. Instead of plugging in, you would drop your phone or other portable device into a pouch inside the tent. A coil in the pouch would carry an electric current that generates a magnetic field to produce a charge which would then serve to power the device’s battery.

Some of the captured solar energy could also be channeled toward radiant floor heating as well. This is exciting news! I can’t tell you how many times I wake up freezing in the middle of the night while camping, no matter how good my sleeping bag is.

But the most innovative part is the “Glo-cation” technology. When you are trying to find your tent you can send an SMS message or use an RFID tag. Basically press a button and your tent lights up in response, like using your wireless remote to find your car in a parking lot by listening for the horn.

The concept tent also has the ability to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal, though whether or not it acts as a router or just a booster is unclear.
If this ever goes into production (and I hope it will) it will be on my must have list for Burning Man.

via CNET

Solar Insect Zappers

April 17th, 2009 No comments
Solar Insect Zapper

Solar Insect Zapper

I am excited about the Summer coming soon. What I am not looking forward to are the pesky mosquitoes always hanging around my lights.

Now there is an easy way to zap them without dampening my electric bill. Mosquitoes, meet the Solar Insect Zapper.

It comes with four solar insect lights that stake into the ground on your yard and harvests the sun’s energy to efficiently deliver 100 varieties of flying insects to their maker.

The UV bulb turns on automatically at dusk and attracts mosquitoes, flies, and other insects and instantly eliminates them with a 300-volt electric charge for up to eight hours on full charge.

The Solar Insect Zapper has a grate surrounding it protecting children and pets. It is made from 100% stainless steel and resists the sun and rain.

It can also easily switch to accent lights with a touch of a button

Solar Insect Zapper $99.95

A Real Solar Powered Flashlight

March 3rd, 2009 No comments
Solar Powered Hybrid Flashlight

Solar Powered Hybrid Flashlight

I never thought I would see this. I always thought it was one of those childhood jokes like screen doors on a submarine. Meet the Solar Hybrid Flashlight that is charged by solar panels with a built-in battery. The flashlight can be charged by the sun or indoor lighting. A 8 our charge can last 12 hours of use. The battery’s lifetime lasts over 3 years. It’s also waterproof up to 80 feet! Very nice build indeed.


Via Gadget Grid