This may seem incredible and impossible to do, but many computer technophiles are going “green” when they travel with a laptop in tow these balkonkraftwerk testsieger. If you are familiar with “extreme” or remote computing this may not seem too far fetched. Let’s not forget that many professionals enjoy rugged recreational activities, but just can’t always leave the office behind.
The idea of solar power for remote computing is finally catching on. It is working for everyone from the cross-country cyclist and weekend camper, to regular working stiffs that have to rough it on the job. Solar power is not just a possibility, but could be a necessity for those that go remote. Solar panels are used to collect solar energy for direct use or storage in batteries to power up later.
Here is how solar, or photovoltaic energy is realized from the “How Stuff Works” website. If you are not an electrical engineer or scientist of some sort, don’t be surprised if this does make light bulbs go off in your head. You can always come back and do further research on the Internet.
“The solar cells that you see on calculators and satellites are photovoltaic cells or modules (modules are simply a group of cells electrically connected and packaged in one frame). Photovoltaics, as the word implies (photo = light, voltaic = electricity), convert sunlight directly into electricity. Once used almost exclusively in space, photovoltaics are used more and more in less exotic ways. They could even power your house. How do these devices work?
Photovoltaic (PV) cells are made of special materials called semiconductors such as silicon, which is currently the most commonly used. Basically, when light strikes the cell, a certain portion of it is absorbed within the semiconductor material. This means that the energy of the absorbed light is transferred to the semiconductor. The energy knocks electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely. PV cells also all have one or more electric fields that act to force electrons freed by light absorption to flow in a certain direction. This flow of electrons is a current, and by placing metal contacts on the top and bottom of the PV cell, we can draw that current off to use externally. For example, the current can power a calculator. This current, together with the cell’s voltage (which is a result of its built-in electric field or fields), defines the power (or wattage) that the solar cell can produce.”
To continue, we will discuss the smaller hand held devices for cell phones and PDAs, all the way to powerful self-contained and fully remote commercial solar systems. Here are several links that describe the use of solar power for mobile computers and other wireless devices from the Do-It-Yourself perspective.
It is amazing what is already available and out in the marketplace for solar power options. As energy costs and energy conservation continue to garner interest as mainstream issues, we should see the rapid development of solar integrated design features. Soon it may be a standard feature and part of everyday portable computers.
Solar kits are designed to be self-contained. They combine solar cells, rechargeable batteries, and a wide selection of cables. These won’t power a portable laptop yet unless it’s a miser on energy, but they will keep you connected with a limitless power supply for your cell phones, Smart phones, PDAs, and smaller devices. As long as the sun is shining, or the batteries are charged up, you will have power.
Many purists will argue anything solar is not really “green”, either because it will never be energy positive (will never generate more power than it took to manufacture), or because it has a battery, making it environmentally unfriendly by default.