Gomadic markets itself as a company offering mobile products for “today’s nomadic users.” With the company’s new SunVolt Portable Solar Power Station, they could really be onto something. The company is partially financing the project on Kickstarter, hoping to raise $30,000 by September 13.
“SunVolt is a portable charging platform which will efficiently convert the sun’s rays into powerful charging current for your mobile electronic devices,” read the description on the project’s Kickstarter page. “On a clear day, a SunVolt Solar Power Station can charge multiple devices with the same speed as if they were plugged in and charged from the wall.”
The portability of SunVolt sets into relief something Buckminster Fuller so strangely stated in “Critical Paths” regarding the world’s energy situation:
Humanity’s cosmic-energy income account consists entirely of our gravity-and star (99 percent Sun)-distributed cosmic dividends of water power, tidal power, wave power, wind power, vegetation-produced alcohols, methane gas, vulcanism, and so on. Humanity’s present rate of total energy consumption amounts to only one four-millionth of one percent of the rate of its energy income.
Whether or not the calculations are correct in that paragraph, Fuller is correct in that there is a whole lot of solar energy at our disposal, and we’re only just becoming truly capable of harnessing it. SunVolt is a great step, putting the mobile technology in the hands of humans (I will not call us consumers here) in the approximate size of a laptop.
What SunVolt sacrifices in size, it will, according to Gomadic’s Don Cayelli, be able to make up for in charging speed. As time goes on the, the dimensions should get smaller.
“What’s unique about SunVolt is that, unlike most solar chargers, it charges directly from the sun without using a battery in-between”, explains Cayelli. “The combination of power and simplicity really makes this a must-have green alternative”.
How will the SunVolt work on a cloudy day? According to the company, “[T]he clearer the day, the more powerful SunVolt will be, however, even on an entirely cloudy day, SunVolt will still be quite effective. It may not charge multiple devices at the same time on a cloudy day, but it should certainly charge at least one.” The big drawback, however, is that it won’t be able to charge a laptop. No word yet on price.
Watch the introductory video below. A little awkward like a late-night infomercial, but inspiring nonetheless.