A line of waterproof, lightweight, UV-resistant, solar-powered electronic gear carrying bags that recharge the electronic devices inside has been released into the retail market. Voltaic Systems Inc., a New York company, http://www.voltaicsystems.com/ has created a line of gear bags that can produce solar power with a backup custom battery pack which stores any surplus power generated, so it is available as needed and not just when the sun is up. These battery packs can also be charged using the included AC travel charger or car charger.
The bag materials are also environmentally friendly. All Voltaic bags use fabrics made from recycled PET, i.e., soda bottles. Recycled PET created fabrics use less energy to produce and also help create demand for recycled materials. The smaller bags produce 4 watts of power, so 1 hour in direct sunlight will power over 3 hours of iPod play time or 1.5 hours of cell phone time and PDA use. The bags are attractive as well as functional and the solar panels come in various colors, including silver, green, orange and charcoal. There are currently four sizes of bags available, including The Converter, The Messenger, The Daypack and The Backpack.
Voltaic’s fifth and newest solar-powered bag is called The Generator, and is designed to carry and charge the laptop that is inside it. The Generator is said to produce up to 14.7 Watts of power, enough to fully charge a laptop from one day of direct sunlight. The Generator is scheduled for its debut at the end of April, and includes a battery pack and a single solar panel on one side of the bag. The Generator will require about 8 to 10 hours of direct sunlight for its lithium-ion battery to be fully charged by the sun, and the bag can alternatively be charged with its included wall plug-in while it is sitting inside in an office. The suggested retail price for The Generator bag is US$599.
Voltaic says that this bag is designed for “road warriors”, e.g., those who travel a lot, are away from traditional sources of power frequently, who work away from the grid, such as field scientists, and those who don’t always have access to a place to plug in and charge up.
Click here for a list of retail store locations where you can buy Voltaic bags.