Photo by Jaymi Heimbuch
Rechargeable batteries are much better than disposable. And recharging them via solar power is much better than using fossil fuel power from the grid. Of course doing the same for laptop batteries is great too. But at what point do you draw the line at price and size?PowerFilm has some foldable battery chargers that seem like a fairly reasonable way to recharge batteries. But they're incredibly expensive. At $80 for a mat that recharges two or 4 AA batteries in 4 hours, you might as well invest in gadgets that use solar power instead of batteries in the first place.
And their laptop charger (the box at the back) is an impressive 60 watts and operates at 15.4 volts, but it runs $1,000 and folds out to a ridiculous 60 inches by 42 inches. Where exactly are you supposed to put this conveniently for the hours of sunlight it needs to charge a battery? There are definitely more affordable and convenient options available.
It's difficult to knock solar charging when it's a great way to get off the grid in small ways, but it's also tough to give thumbs up to products that aren't all that practical.
More on CES 2009:
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CES 2009: Christopher Knight Helps Kick off Green Plug's First Product
CES 2009: The Greener Gadgets Wild Goose Chase
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