Schleppable Solar: Briefcase-Size Solar Panel Goes With You

eneloop portable solar charger

After the positive response to their Eneloop rechargeable batteries, Sanyo is back with some more excellent gadgets for their environmentally-friendly Eneloop line. Most notable, though, is the Eneloop Portable Solar. It looks kind of like a briefcase, but the outside is covered in photovoltaic panels. A mesh pocket on the other side holds the Eneloop Power Booster, which is the battery that stores the collected solar energy, as well as any gadgets you’re toting around.

eneloop solar charger portable solar panels

Eneloop suggests leaving the Portable Solar outside, hanging it in a window, or just carrying it with you while you walk around. You can choose models with one set of panels or two, depending on how much power you need. Then anytime your gadgets need a pick-me-up charge, plug them into the Power Booster via a USB cable. Sanyo says that after charging the twin panels in the sun for one hour, there will be enough power stored up to give your cell phone 40 minutes of talk time.

eneloop portable solar panels

Not only would this be good for keeping battery-draining devices powered up wherever you go (we’re thinking camping trips would be a lot more fun with a fully-charged Nintendo DS); it would be perfect for emergencies, too. If the power goes out and you can’t charge your phone for a while, there will (hopefully) still be sunlight to keep you connected. The Eneloop Portable Solar is already on shelves in Japan; no word yet on when it will hit North America.

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See more in Various Gizmos or under Gadgets. December, 2009.