Many of us may harbour wild fantasies of digitally unplugging from our technologically over-saturated lives to go dwell in the woods, but for the semi-nomadic sheepherders of the rural regions of Turkey, the internet is a way to keep up on the news and socialize while on their solitary trips outdoors. But considering the remote landscape they must traverse, their means of internet access is quite unconventional -- provided by solar panels carried by a "plug-and-play" donkey.
According to this BBC News report, Turkish solar panel company Ser-Gün is producing these solar panels that will provide between five to seven kilowatts of electricity -- enough to charge cell phones, laptops and also to power up lights that are useful during the evening and during birthing season. Company officials said that the aim was to improve the comfort and sustainability of the sheepherding trade.According to Hurriyet News, this solar plug-and-play pack costs 2,800 Turkish liras (USD $1,320), with the Turkish government subsidizing half, a regional project that has been in the works for almost 30 years.
The panels look a bit unwieldy, but with solar technologies improving at a quick pace, portability may improve in the near future. With many remote, off-grid communities jumping into the digital fray via cell phones and micro-powered grids, it's no surprise that in the case of the sheepherders, donkeys have been integrated with the latest in solar technology to enable herders to reap the best of both worlds. More over at BBC.