With all the talk about “green energy” these days, advancements in technology have followed. I’m no stranger to wind farms, in fact I’ve seen them in the farmland of the Midwest for years and my brother-in-law has worked on wind farms for nearly 10 years. But, the idea of harnessing the power of the sun has just always been compelling to me and with recent advances in solar panel technology, there are more and more creative ways to harness the power of the sun.
There are now a myriad of portable solar chargers on the market today–some are small with the intent of charging an iPod or cell phone (Solio Hybrid 1000), while others are larger with the ability to more efficiently charge a laptop. Other solutions combine the solar panel charger with a portable power unit (essentially a super-efficient battery pack) to enable the use of more high-power A/C devices such as blenders, radios, electric griddles and the like.
Who Should Use It?
There are a variety of portable solar panels and power hubs on the market, but this one appears to be a solid choice for many types of users who are looking for a bit more power and versatility. With the ability to run more high-power devices, this could be a great choice for adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts, travelers, scientists, emergency preparedness or eco hermits wishing to unplug.
Combine this unit with a wireless card and you’ve got yourself a mobile office solution ready to blog or work from anywhere a cell tower is available. Simply plug in the laptop, iPhone and hang out on a mountain or campground for days.
About the GoBe Portable Battery
This 9-lb battery pack (looks like a fattened bowling pin with a handle) provides long-lasting power between solar or wall charges. Built with a handle on top to facilitate transportation, the unit sports both A/C, D/C and USB plugs to power a variety of devices without adapters. Keep in mind that any high-draw device or anything with a 3-prong plug will not work (lets be realistic here). This unit is perfect for powering or charging laptops, cell phones, iPods, and other small appliances when disconnected from the grid.
Power Hub Specifications:
- Built-in ventilation and fuse for safety
- Self-discharge RITAR batteries can be stored for 6 months between charges
- Battery Life: Up to 1000 cycles
- A/C Power Output: 80 Watts
- D/C Voltage: 12 VDC +- 1.5 V
- A/C Voltage: 110 VAC +- 10 V
- USB Output: 5.25 -4.40 VDC
- LED output power indicator lights
- MSRP: $180
About the GoBe Solar Panel Charger
To charge the GoBe Power Hub on-the-go, this briefcase-style solar panel system is compact enough and durable enough to be packed in the back of the car without much worry. Its locking levers keep the panels protected from tiny hands (my kids think it’s pretty cool) or accidental breakage. The handle eases transport and the flip-out supports allow for optimal sun capture.
Though having two devices may seem cumbersome, it is nice to separate the two (Power Hub and Solar Battery Charager Panel) to prevent damage to the solar panels and not limiting the size of the solar panels due to the form-factor of the power unit.
Solar Panel Specifications:
- 10.5 W power output
- Pop-out support legs
- Locking mechanism
- Size: 16″ x 22″ x 2″
- MSRP: $180
The GoBe solar power hub and solar panel battery charger briefcase are available as a combo package for $179 or sold individually for $129 each. Looks like a great system to have for emergency or extensive travel outside of the grid.