Solar Power To The People
The social enterprise Barefoot Power is rolling out a wide range of solar power products at speed across Africa, brightening up the lives of those with limited or no access to grid power. Products range from single desk lamps to complete kits for use by community homes, clinics and schools. With good links to microfinance organisations, Barefoot has sold about 350,000 lanterns and lighting kits to the rural poor in over 20 countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, India and the Americas.
Logitech Introduces Light-Powered Protection for the iPad
New Solar Keyboard Folio Provides Hassle-Free Protection with Minimal Bulk for the New, Third-Generation iPad and iPad 2
Recently Logitech announced the expansion of both its solar and tablet accessories lineups with the Logitech® Solar Keyboard Folio. Made for the new, third-generation iPad® as well as the iPad 2, the ultra-slim, book-style case and keyboard offer stylish design with protection, featuring a built-in keyboard that’s powered by light.
“Now that people are seemingly inseparable from their tablets, using them for everything from sending emails to watching videos, they want accessories powered to meet their needs”
Similar to Logitech’s solar keyboards for Mac® and PC, the Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio includes onboard solar cells that charge the built-in Bluetooth® keyboard in any light, whether indoors or outdoors. When fully charged, the battery lasts for up to two years, even in complete darkness (based on a average use of two hours per day).
“Now that people are seemingly inseparable from their tablets, using them for everything from sending emails to watching videos, they want accessories powered to meet their needs,” said Alexis Richard, director of product marketing at Logitech. “The Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio is a smart partner for your iPad. Its sleek built-in keyboard uses light to charge and it provides hassle-free protection for your iPad – both for the front and back. It gives you an ideal way to use and protect your tablet without adding bulk.”
The Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio has two stand positions, so when you want to use your iPad you can choose the viewing angle that’s best for you. Open the folio and place your iPad in the first position to enjoy the full keyboard when you’re typing. Place your iPad in the second position and the first keyboard row acts as your one-touch media playback and volume controls, so you can play, pause and change volume instantly. The folio also has an instant On/Off function, which means your iPad automatically wakes when you open the folio and goes on standby when you close it.
OffGrid Solar Backpack
The OffGrid is a full-sized, rugged backpack with integrated solar and battery power
Solar Embedded Fashions Energizing Mobile Devices
The solar industry is shining its light on just about every part of society.This time a company called Silvr Lining is impacting the solar and fashion industry. The Los Angeles based clothing designer has introduced a line of solar powered outerwear called the Go Collection, which is all hand made, individually cut & sewn garments. The garments are ethically made clothing from organic & recycled fibers and allow you to charge your phone with your pants, jacket or vest. The GO Collection is an urban sportswear line featuring integrated solar charging for personal mobile communication devices.
In addition to GO Collection Silvr Lining offers multi-
functional, high-tech fashion and lifestyle brands. The Dugwear, Modbox lines are progressive and green, and pursue sustainability and renewability of materials and processes. Fully and independently functioning solar power supply panels are provided for the front pockets of the of the GO Director’s Jacket, GO Utility Vest, GO Myer’s Topper,and side cargo pockets of the GO Cargo Pant. Output power is highly precise and conditioned for automatic charging of personal devices. These panels can also be used as self‐contained, carry – anywhere chargers and are USB 2.0 compliant.
Sandra Garratt—Design Director of Silvr Lining describing Silvr Lining said,”Too many of us believe that a “rich, creative life” belongs to a chosen few select people who “do that sort of thing. Wrong, creativity is in everything we all do daily. Beauty is a choice, creating it for any circumstance is an initiative for designers. We all want a happy, healthy, well-balanced lifestyle, not just more clothes. SilvrLining is making a design statement about an emerging Green lifestyle that is techwise and embraces active living in the Sun. We try to integrate Nature & Technology with Style while breathing beauty into busy modern everyday life.The designers and “science guys” at SilvrLining believe that there is new Green inspiration, a focus on energy independence that is moving us forward with progressive, new ideas that help us know that it is time to leave the past behind.”
Vivint Named a 2012 “Cool Vendor in Consumer Energy Management” by Leading Industry Analyst Firm
Vivint, the largest home automation services company in North America, today announced it has been named as one of the “Cool Vendors in Consumer Energy Management, 2012” by Gartner Inc.
“At a time of soaring energy costs, the environmental and economic benefits of strong energy management products are clear to all”
The Cool Vendors list features interesting, new and innovative products and startups offering energy savings.
“At a time of soaring energy costs, the environmental and economic benefits of strong energy management products are clear to all,” said Todd Pederson, CEO of Vivint. “Our customers are realizing substantial energy savings through Vivint’s smart home features.”
With the Vivint energy management package, customers can remotely control lighting features, household appliances and thermostats using a smartphone, iPad or computer. Many Vivint customers are realizing an average energy savings of nearly $40 per month.
Gartner’s report also highlights Vivint Solar’s partnership with Clean Power Finance that provides funding for solar PPAs in a growing number of markets in the U.S. The Clean Power Finance partnership will allow Vivint Solar to expand its existing financing and maintenance options for homeowners, which include the ability to purchase the power generated by the solar panels for a lower rate than consumers ty
Econet Solar Launches the Home Power Station
Millions of Africans to benefit from the first affordable solar power system for the home
Econet Solar, a company which designs and sells a range of solar-powered electronic and lighting products, today unveiled the Home Power Station, a revolutionary, standalone electricity solution designed for those in areas where there is no access to the grid or a source of sustainable, reliable power – around 70% of Africa.
The first generation of Econet Solar’s new product will provide lighting, and power to charge cell phones, on a pre-paid basis, using the same systems and in the same way airtime is purchased for mobile phones. This mechanism removes the requirement for high upfront costs which have until now prevented hundreds of millions of people across Africa benefiting from solar powered lighting systems in their home. 96% of mobile subscriptions in Africa are on a pre-paid/pay as you go basis, a payment method with which African people are familiar.
The Home Power Station uses a solar panel to charge a battery which provides power for four lights and a cell phone charger. It is Econet’s intention that future generations of the product will serve homes of all sizes as the business model is fully scalable. It is the first solar power system that is paid for via pre-paid cell phones using Econet Solar’s unique and fully patented power control module linking the Home Power Station to the cell phone network. The product will begin trials in several countries in the coming weeks and is expected to be commercially available in the first half of 2012, before subsequently being rolled out in other African countries.
Setting it apart from alternatives currently available on the market, the Home Power Station will be available at a small upfront cost, with customers paying for the electricity generated as they use it. Econet Solar will be working closely with its parent company, Econet Wireless, to make the Home Power Station available to its millions of cell phone customers in Africa. In time, Econet Solar will seek to establish licensing agreements with other mobile network operators in developing countries to make the product available to their respective customer bases.
Commenting on the launch of the Home Power Station, Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Econet Wireless said: “More than five hundred million people in Africa are living in areas where there is no access to a reliable source of power. If we are to improve the lives and prospects of Africans living beyond the reach of the grid, it is imperative that we find practical and sustainable solutions to meet their needs. Whilst there are already well-intentioned solar powered lighting systems on the market, the reality is that they are just too expensive for people to afford. We are launching the Home Power Station to change all that.
“The Home Power Station uses proven technology in a revolutionary way in order to make power available on a pre-paid basis, just like airtime on a cell phone. Forecasters expect that Africa will have 735 million cell phone users by the end of next year and we’ll be looking to leverage the proven ability of telecoms companies like Econet Wireless to roll-out this product quickly. People who are today living without access to reliable and sustainable power for lighting will have it on a pre-paid basis from next year.”
The Econet Solar Home Power Station includes four LED lights, the Home Power Station controller, a battery, a solar panel, cabling and a cell phone charger. It has been designed to light, up to four rooms of 3×3 meters each for a period of up to five hours a day using only the power of the sun.
Kenya: Solar Powered Phones Recharge Nation’s Conversations
Isiolo — The upcoming Rio+20 conference on sustainable development will try to identify solutions to worsening resource scarcity and climate change, but Habiba Rage may already be holding one in the palm of her hand.
The 38-year-old from Alago Alba in Kenya’s North Eastern Region has overcome her village’s lack of connection to the electricity grid with a cell phone that uses solar energy to recharge.
“Our village does not have electricity,” says the mother of four. “It is very difficult to own a mobile phone because of the energy it needs to keep working.”
Habiba needs a phone for her livelihood as a trader including to keep track of stock arriving from Isiolo, the nearest urban center. Attacks by bandits along the 110 km (70 mile) route are not uncommon. Like many others in this marginalised region, she has long found it hard to stay charged up and in touch. But communications are now getting faster and more reliable, thanks to Rage’s phone, which takes advantage of the scorching sun. Full article
World Business: Solar Power and Mobile Phones in Kenya
World Business: Around 85% of people in the world now pay to use a mobile phone and in countries like Kenya, where politics & geography are serious impediments to the roll out of fixed line Internet connections, the mobile phone is playing an increasingly vital role.