CES 2012: GoalZero Brings Yeti-Sized Solar Power to Adventurers
GoalZero was the very first booth I visited at this year's CES. It helped that it was the very first booth as you walk in the door to go to the Sustainable Planet TechZone which was of course going to be my first stop. I was immediately sucked in by some of the great solar power products they have available, and that are new and improved over last year.
First thing to catch visitors' eyes is the Yeti1250. And yes, with a name like that, you can expect people will be taking it way, way off grid with them. The Yeti1250 matches up with a pair of 30-Watt solar panels, which are framed in metal to provide extra durability. Together, they need 20-22 hours of sunlight to charge the charger to full, which then provides 1250 Watt Hours. The set is priced at $2,000. If that is too much for you, don't worry, they have personal-sized items as well.
I was immediately drawn to the charger above. It is a foldable 3.5 Watt solar panel that can charge up AA/AAA batteries and small devices like cell phones and iPods. I was told it could also charge an iPad but that it would be rather slow and wouldn't really provide a full charge. Instead, you'd want the next size up, which is a 7 Watt panel. It can charge a cell phone in just about 2 hours of sunlight. The panels can also be tossed onto a backpack for charging while traveling.
But if you really want portable power, there's the new version of the Sherpa.
This item is smaller than the previous version, and gathers a charge from a 10 Watt foldable solar panel. It can store enough to charge a camera or even a laptop, and it comes with an inverter so you can fill it using electricity from an outlet if needed.
And the solar panels fold up into a nice, tidy little package. This retails for $250 for the Sherpa 50 and $150 for the solar panels.
A couple extra bonuses from the booth include these speakers that are enclosed in a rugged zipper case, and can be charged with any of the power packs, and an every-gadget adapter.
The Medusa-like power adapter above won't be out for at least a month or more, but when it does come out, it'll be an indispensable item for those who are utilizing the solar power packs for charging a variety of gadgets. Instead of individual chargers that get lost all the time, you'll know you have the right one with you.