Get jacked into the sun with this portable solar charger

SunJack portable solar charger
© SunJack

When traveling out of the range of outlets and extension cords, having a way to charge your mobile devices from the sun can make all the difference, and this new portable solar charger, described as the "world's most portable and powerful solar charger" could be an effective and affordable solution to offgrid personal power.

There's been a surge in both advances and interest in personal solar chargers over the last few years, and the recent innovations found in those small solar systems can make offgrid travel a lot more convenient, especially for those of us who like our battery-powered devices. Portable solar chargers are also perfect for emergency preparedness kits and bugout bags, but are right at home in the city as well, and can serve as everyday chargers for mobile devices.

The latest portable solar charger, dubbed SunJack, has an added social good component to it, as the founder, Harold Tan, is coupling the development and sales of the device to help bring healthy, non-toxic lighting to Papua New Guinea villages, where smoky and hazardous lighting sources are the norm.

The SunJack comes in two versions, 14W and 20W, and features removable lithium-polymer battery packs that can do double duty by charging two devices, at the same time they are being recharged. The 14W model comes with a single 8,000mAh battery, which charges in 5 hours, and the 20W model comes with two of those, which is plenty of capacity for multiple smartphone charges.

According to Tan, this portable solar charger outperforms other similar chargers due to its proprietary USB port:

"We've found a way to optimize filling up the battery from sunlight - think of it as being able to get more water out of your faucet faster. The SunJack is able to get more electrons flowing into the battery faster than any solar charger available, which means you get wall-outlet charging speeds in an incredibly portable form-factor."

The solar panels, which are sewn into a foldable carrying case that also holds the batteries, are made from high efficiency (~19%) mono-crystalline solar cells, and the device includes integrated loops for hanging it up while in use or for storage. The larger of the two solar chargers weighs in at 2.7lbs, and measures 8.5” x 12” x 1.75” when closed, which is small enough to take just about anywhere.

To launch this portable solar 'energy independence' device, Tan has turned to crowdfunding with a campaign on Kickstarter, which seeks to raise $33,000 for a large enough production run to be cost-effective. Backers of the campaign can get significant discounts on a device of their own (the 20W SunJack’s projected retail price is $250, but backers can receive one for $169), or choose to gift one of the chargers or an LED lightbulb to villagers in Papua New Guinea instead.

Get jacked into the sun with this portable solar charger
This powerful solar charger and battery combo folds up into the size of an iPad, and not only offers a little bit of energy independence, but also benefits rural villages in Papua New Guinea.

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