A solar-powered backpack is one of the recent environment-friendly solar innovations which become more and more popular. It allows the hiker or traveler the opportunity to keep their electronic devices charged anywhere they go using solar energy.
We live at the age when we are constantly connected to one device or another such as smartphones, MP3 players, tablets, laptops, so the importance of having a source of power with us has never been greater. Here comes a solar-powered backpack. It can harness enough solar energy to keep us connected with the world and it is ideal for people who like to take hiking trips or go camping.
The solar-powered backpack has a small solar panel attached to its outer surface so we can capture the sun’s rays. The interior space includes a storage battery and other components. The solar panel is lightweight, waterproof and can produce up to 10 watts of power.
Other components of the solar-powered backpack include a flexible mono-crystalline or thin-film solar panels, charge controller, a variety of cell phone adapters and a USB plug for your MP3 player.
With the solar-powered backpack, you can also power a GPS, a travel lamp, a digital camera, a palm pilot, and other rechargeable electronic devices.
The solar-powered backpack has a lithium-ion battery pack inside to store this energy. NASA and the US Army have used copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) solar cells for its unbreakable strength and flexibility.
A solar-powered backpack known as REPPS (Rucksack Enhanced Portable Power System), was first used by the US army for communication equipment in 2010 in Afghanistan. The US Air Force had previously used solar panels on shipping containers, developed by Lockheed Martin. And the Marines developed suitcase units of foldable solar panels which can also be carried as a backpack.
A solar-powered backpack can also be used for international aid, disaster relief, and humanitarian relief efforts where power from the utility grid is not available. (read this article)
Several companies are manufacturing solar backpacks and they range in price from $75 to $500.