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Solar Power Goes Mobile with Solarpod

Generating solar power on the go is more than environmentally-friendly; it is fantastically convenient, too!

One product that recent caught our attention is Solarpod, a solar generator designed by a UK company called Thousand Suns. It is a portable solar power unit that looks more like an Apple computer than a clunky diesel generator. It is ideal for areas without a reliable grid, or with no grid connection at all. Think camping and boat trips or people living in remote areas.

Thousand Suns says it can power most home appliances such as TVs, stereos, games consoles, laptops, fax, power tools etc and can be completed with high performance solar panels. It works out of the box, with no installation required.

Energy Refuge caught up with Thousand Suns to find out more about this little solar power wonder.

ER: What’s the story behind Solarpod?

TS: Thousand Suns founders Jean Viry-Babel and Patrick Kemmis created a patent with the Imperial College for the Solar Concentrator, a product which would magnify the power of the sun in order to gain more from your standard solar panels. It was created in Singapore; however it did not work in the UK. Though the product never went into production there was a new name Thousand Suns (as the Solar Concentrator would create the power of a thousand suns).

Still passionate about runnable energy for both its sustainable commercial viability and its positive environmental implications, John and Patrick teamed up with Robert Smith. He had an idea for a portable solar energy generator that could replace noisy and polluting diesel generators. The Solarpod is born.

When it came to production Thousand Suns wanted to keep the process as ethical as the product, and sourced a small factory in France which gives work opportunities to those with disabilities.

The initial market was thought to be those who owned beach houses; it would be used to run things such as a small fridge or a TV. Upon further research market potential grew enormously with the likes of fishermen and boats, those wanting to be environmentally friendly, caravans, motor homes, campers, festival goers. Essentially any place where people would be away from the main grid, but wanted to run their small electrical equipments.

ER: How does it work?

TS: Solarpod contains a high performance lithium Ion Phosphate battery which is safe and environmentally friendly. It is fitted with a 400W inverter, a UK 3-pin socket, 2 USB ports and a 12V car socket. It can be charged either with solar panels or by plugging it directly into the mains.

From a Solarpod you can expect the following:

32in LCD TV – 5 hours

Smart Phone – 40 charges

ER: How many units have you sold?

TS: We have had 1500 units ordered since May, with orders coming from Finland, Germany, Spain, India, USA, UK, France, and Norway. From such phenomenal interest in just 2 months, and the many different user types, the growth potential is vast.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.