We've been waiting for this: our pals at Voltaic Systems are ready to pull the curtain back on a new laptop bag that can charge up your laptop with the power of the sun. (Full disclosure: Shayne McQuade, CEO of Voltaic Systems, Inc., is a member of TreeHugger's board of advisors.) The solar-powered Generator bag uses a single solar panel to produce up to 14.7 watts of power, compared to about 4 watts on the first generation of backpacks and other bags.
The setup of the Generator bag appears to be similar to the older bags -- we'll know for sure when it drops at CES on Tuesday -- where the panel charges an internal battery, and the solar panel and battery can also charge many other consumer electronics like iPods and cell phones. Also similar to the current bags, Generator is constructed from fabrics made with recycled soda bottles (PET -- that's number 1 plastic) which are tough, waterproof and UV resistant.
Laptop users ready to unplug from the power grid and power up from the sun will have just a little while longer to wait; Voltaic expects to be shipping later this spring, with a suggested retail price of $599. For more Voltaic until then, read our review of the backpack and check out this video of Shayne and the backpack in action, and stay tuned for more soon. ::Voltaic Systems