Now you can carry around your own portable solar power source

Now you can carry around your own portable solar power source

TOKYO —

Conservation and efficient use of energy is a huge issue these days, particularly in Japan where the nuclear power plants have been shut down and people are seriously concerned about whether we will have enough electric power in the summer months when electricity use will be at the highest. Well, if you’re worried about running out of electric power, here’s the perfect gadget for you – your very own portable solar panel kit.

The mobile solar battery system WINGSOL MSR-110B, which has just come on to the market at the start of this month, was developed jointly by tent manufacturer Taiyo Kogyo Corporation and visual products and services provider OS Co Ltd, and is made from two parts - the solar unit which is a flexible amorphous solar panel sheet, and the battery unit.

The solar panel sheet can be rolled up and carried around easily, so the battery unit can be charged anywhere, indoors or outdoors. Further, the solar unit and battery unit can be separated and the battery can be used on its own as a power source. The battery unit uses a nickel hydrogen battery which allows for long lasting, stable electricity output. In addition to being solar powered, the battery can also be charged from a regular power outlet and can be used immediately in the event of an emergency power outage. The device does not emit loud noises or exhaust fumes as a traditional engine powered generator would, so it is environment-friendly as well. Under sunny weather conditions, the battery fully charges in approximately 8 hours, and it provides enough electricity to power an LED light for 6-7 hours or a computer for about 2-3 hours. The solar unit and battery unit together weighs 14.5 kg

A video showing how the device works can be seen on the Trend Tamago website.

The technology sounds quite advanced and useful, doesn’t it? Well, the people who developed the battery system say that it was a challenge to create the solar panel sheet with a flexible material that can be rolled up, but now that they have been able to overcome that challenge, they hope the product will be used to power important electronic devices including communications equipment, computers, lights, TV sets and fans in disaster struck areas or areas without electricity. If you’re interested, they have a dedicated website (in Japanese) with details of the product.

The WINGSOL battery system currently costs 609,000 yen, so it doesn’t come cheap, but they hope to be able to streamline the manufacturing process and reduce the price in the future. Indeed, if the cost can be brought down, this product could have great potential as a life-saving power source around the world, and of course, technology that raises people’s quality of life is always welcome. We have to say that this is a job well done.

RocketNews24

  • 5

    gaijintraveller

    If it takes 8 hours to provide enough power to power an LED for six to seven hours, why does it cost over 600,000 yen? The local homecenter has LED lights, though admittedly low power ones, powered by solar cells for 1,000 or less.

  • 4

    Weasel

    We have to say that this is a job well done.

    At 609000 Yen for what you get, I'd say their job has just begun.

  • 3

    zichi

    The cost of nuclear energy power will rise with the costs of the nuclear disaster, according to a gov't panel, ¥1.6/kWh. It will also rise with the massive costs of increasing safety at the nuclear plants. Power charges are set to rise when the feed-in-tariff starts in July.

    The cost of solar panels are still high but by 2030, the cost of power from renewable energy will be cheaper than power from nuclear energy or fossil fuels.

  • 3

    nandakandamanda

    If they would just add a small wind turbine to that kit, you'd get the overlapping benefit of sun by day and wind by... whenever it's windy.

  • 2

    2020hindsights

    Now maybe some people will believe me when I say that solar energy isn't economically viable.

  • 2

    jessebaybay

    Let me know when we have solar power paint. So I can paint my car and walls of my house in it. Now that's an idea! Actually it might already be done?

  • 2

    caffeinebuzz

    Ridiculous. I made my own charging kit out of some old solar garden lamps and rechargeable batteries. It ran a standard fluorescent light tube for 7 hours, and all up couldn'tve cost more than 3000 Yen.

  • 2

    Rogerrabbitt

    At 609,00¥ I can't see them selling many. I applause their attempt though at offering portable environmentally friendly power. It actually cost me 1.2 mil to cover the roof of my house with a hundred times the output.

  • 2

    zichi

    May I remind everyone, until only 1992, the standard belief was LED was a toy with little value, now it's value has only begun to save mega-watts. Keep the lamp lit.

    Power consumption is at its lowest since the start of the century, mostly due to the wide spread of LED lighting.

    We are the verge of new solar technologies. Thin transparent film which can be applied to windows. Solar paint. Thinner, cheaper and more powerful panels. Electric cars which charge themselves and run without the need for heavy expensive batteries. Nanotechnology which can hold a single electron from a solar panel until its needed.

  • 2

    zichi

    JaneM,

    Renewable energy is here now and available but the capital investment is still high. America and China are generating 50,000MW from wind. Germany is generating 20% of its total power from renewables.

    20-30 years isn't a long time when it comes to deciding an energy policy for a country and making the necessary investments and planning in achieving it. Divert the ¥500 billion given every year by the gov't to the nuclear industry.

  • 1

    ExportExpert

    Yeah price kills it otherwise it would be excellent.

  • 1

    TSRnow

    I wonder if local governments that offer subsidies for solar panels include this one too...?

  • 1

    basroil

    As for the panel itself, an LED lightbulb is usually 14-25W, so 6-7 hours is 175 WHr at best. At 8 hours a charge, that's 22W panel minimum. 1sq. m. with only 22W means just 1.7% efficiency at six times the normal cost of a 17% efficient panel.

    Considering it's 14.5kg, you are better off with a powersport battery, whose are 12V batteries with capacities above 200WHr, and more importantly, are much smaller and lighter (only 4.7kg). Faster recharge, longer life, why bother with a really useless panel?

    This isn't news at all, it doesn't talk about innovative technology or ground breaking pricing. It's simply a poor joke of a device with absolutely no purpose.

  • 1

    Matthew Simon

    knock a couple zeros off the price and I am game for that.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    Will it run air-con? Fridge? Not really going to be a lot of use to relieve the humidity is it?

    Why would you need a PORTABLE solar power source to supply power to something you're NEVER going to be carrying around with you during your day?

  • 1

    timtak

    There are better deals at the sites advertised here bottom right.

  • 1

    Eduardo Gonzalez

    Never suitable for permanent residential/commercial/industrial installation. Therefore, it's heavily ideal when going on the longest of road trips such as a trip on RV from Kagoshima to Hokkaindo in a single weekend

  • 1

    Matthew Simon

    Why not just use a tread mill to power your house. its far cheaper and you can get in shape at the same time.

  • 1

    zichi

    JaneM,

    I can accept the need to restart "X" number of reactors because a change in energy policy will need time but will it slow down the introduction of new energies?

    I'm against starting any reactors until the new atomic safety agency is in place and working. Then it can review the safety policy and the reactor stress tests and which power companies are introducing higher safety standards and which ones need more of a push.

    But I don't see that happening this year?

  • 0

    zichi

    I would have to agree, this is an expensive toy. Batteries in modile phones, laptops and norebooks and even lights with wind up generators.

  • 0

    anglootaku

    You can make it look like a proton pack lol

  • 0

    Frungy

    ... this advert makes no sense:

    enough electricity to power an LED light for 6-7 hours or a computer for about 2-3 hours.

    An 60 watt LED light chews about 40 watts of energy per hour x 7 = about 280 watts. My desktop PC chews about 350 watts per hour x 2 hours = 700 watts.

    I'm interested in this because I'm trying to figure out how many watts per hour (under ideal conditions) this solar power sheet can pull in. The battery isn't really material since the solar panel is the key component.

  • 0

    gogogo

    How many watts does it put out?

  • 0

    Thunderbird2

    So you can either have a single LED bulb for 6 or 7 hours... or surf the net for 2 or 3 hours. Seems a bit pointless to me. Will it run air-con? Fridge? Not really going to be a lot of use to relieve the humidity is it?

  • 0

    gogogo

    @basroil: Thanks for the info, not much power, but for free I guess it's okay

  • 0

    sf2k

    I don't know, I mean a 60W foldable solar panel is under $800 USD, so what is 600,000 yen getting people here???

    I understand the market need to "fold away for easy storage" mentality but the price of this is quite high, 2 to 3 times. Even a 90W system on wheels that folds a bit is possible for under $2000 USD, so what on earth is this price gouging? I'm sure the unit will work but it looks like for the Japanese market people are being taken

    Checkout modern outpost dot com for their kits, which are more for camping and research/medical stations etc. They have them in all kinds of sizes. If you are realistic to your needs powering your desktop isn't going to be it. More like at most a laptop and a lot of battery packs. Some are luggable when needs are smaller.

    Thus the reality is that while the systems are packable, their sense of portability is diminished proportional to what you're powering and daily power needs and in particular inverter use and battery storage. I suppose if you have a truck to haul it around that's great, but you're not going to wait 8 hours a day to do something for 6 hours or do any meaningful and reliable work based on the energy storage with this.

    Probably great for smaller electronics when camping but it's not that practical. Certainly looks easier to setup than a rigid panel to be sure, but the overall setup will start from there.

  • 0

    sf2k

    A single battery sounds nice but really it doesn't work out that way. To be prudent you wouldn't expect to use 100% of the power in the battery everyday. You'd want something in it left over so that it would be possible to use it tomorrow as well. So scaling your solar design will require upping the wattage of the panel to exceed your largest drawing device or having more batteries that are being charged or preferably both.

    Mainly laptops. (forget desktops). Now all you need is a dedicated sun access point at the right amount of time everyday to recharge one of two batteries a day. Then use one while another charges. If the time to charge isn't 100% ideal each and every day (also realistic) then maybe three batteries and shift their usage.

    In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is ;)

  • 0

    Iowan

    Sorry but nothing says "nerd" like your own portable mobile solar battery system.

    "Hey girls, check out my flexible amorphous solar panel sheet. Yeah, it's nickel hydrogen."

  • 0

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Over $6,000 USD?? I guess folk even in rich countries will find this expensive, let alone those in underdeveloped countries let alone in the 3rd world where people really need this kind of techology, need to bring these prices DOWN!!! ASAP!!!

  • 0

    Liberty Joe Lowe

    When I started reading this news I thought I was going to see a feasible alternative to power, like something that would operate an air con! There really is just not enough watts/yen to make this worth having.

  • 0

    JaneM

    but by 2030, the cost of power from renewable energy will be cheaper than power from nuclear energy or fossil fuels.

    I hope renewable energy will be more easily available even before 2030 but we are still 18 years away from the cheaper energy from renewable sources in 2030. Until then, we still need to factor in the high cost of the equipment, the installation costs, maintenance costs, the level of technical reliability of the equipment, etc.

  • 0

    kcjapan

    "solar energy isn't economically viable" - another vote for giving up?

    Or is it more important, "it was a challenge to create the solar panel sheet with a flexible material that can be rolled up"!

    Now imagine buildings covered with power generation material. The problem with sustaining power is the solution has to be wide enough to apply in many environments. What works in Kyushu may not work in Hokkaido. The advancement here lies in the fabric generator.

    May I remind everyone, until only 1992, the standard belief was LED was a toy with little value, now it's value has only begun to save mega-watts. Keep the lamp lit.

  • 0

    JaneM

    Zichi, Exactly. And I think that many people are missing my point. 20-30 years is not too long a time when it comes to energy policies. But we live here and now and we need energy this summer. So while it is essential to develop the technology further in the long term, we also have to think about here and now and acknowledge the fact that both time and our ability to use the new technology widely are limited.

    So you and I are obviously talking about different things - it does not make either of us wrong I think.

  • 0

    JaneM

    Zichi,

    I do not see how the restarting of the reactors which are considered both necessary and safe to operate will slow down the development of green energy technology - the METI departments in charge of nuclear and alternative energy work independently from each other and there has been even a greater push within METI and from politicians for the new energy after the disaster.

    So, while I am as concerned as you are about nuclear safety, I ask you to consider the fact that the issue is being discussed in the Diet and it is up to the lawmakers to pass the law as soon as possible. However, as we have seen time and again that political games in the Diet - among and within the leading parties - are a big obstacle to solving this particular problem in a timely manner. Which, unfortunately, only shows that the guys whom we call politicians can be called anything but statesmen.

    At the moment, the entire burden falls on Noda and he is the one who has to think about all pros and cons of restarting/not-restarting the reactors. We can never be too careful when taking nuclear safety precautions but yet what has to be done has to be done. And he has made the decision regardless of the fact that he might lose votes, etc. etc. No matter what names people call him, I do not believe that he was bribed by the nuclear village – if he had been bribed he would have pushed for restarting all the reactors, not only the two in Oi.

    I also think that whatever you aor I say or think, being only ordinary citizens here, we do not have all the necessary information to make an informed decision about restarting/not restarting the reactors.

  • 0

    solardude

    Pretty cool design. I wonder how powerful the solar panel is?

    Ryan @ http://www.PortableSolarPower.Biz

  • -1

    kurisupisu

    The only thing lacking in this story is how to get finance to buy the system,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • -1

    techall

    The solar unit and battery unit together weighs 14.5 kg

    That's a bit hefty for the limited output. Not really something a back packer is going to lug around.

    Sounds like military equipment: no matter how heavy it is, put two handles on it and call it "portable".

  • -1

    kurisupisu

    To have nuclear reactors in Japan is anti commonsense. To even consider having nuclear reactors after 3/11 shows suicidal tendencies. To promote economic concerns over health is contradictory in the extreme! Mankind owes itself a duty not to create radioactive isotopes that wind up being ingested by all........

  • -2

    basroil

    Gogogo, I posted a quick calculation above. Considering that these are on flexible film, much less than 2% efficiency (<26W) is about all that is possible using current technology (even research stage technology).

    Frungy, they clearly show a laptop, which means average of maybe 35W-45W (two year old laptops averaged just that with use, closer to 15W idle). My desktop does draw up to about 400W (plus 50W for screen, disks, and router) when doing CUDA enhanced 3d rendering (or gaming), so that would last maybe twenty minutes with their system.

  • -2

    JaneM

    @kurisupisu The only thing lacking in this story is how to get finance to buy the system,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Why should anybody provide finance for buying this? If there are so many people willing to use solar battery devices it means the demand is big enough and the government does not have to promote the use.

    When METI was financing people in order to stimulate the use of solar power before 3/11 the interested were so few. Now, when everybody is willing to use it, you still want to be stimulated to do so??? It sounds unlogical, at the least.

  • -2

    JaneM

    @2020nindsights Now maybe some people will believe me when I say that solar energy isn't economically viable.

    I hope so too.

    In the past when some of the forumers here said that solar energy was not yet developed to the level of being economicly viable, they got voted down.

    I hope that those who downvoted the cool heads at the time finally realize that stating the truth about solar energy and other green sources does not make you pro-nuclear. But, well... Emotion and reason are two different things, aren't they?

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