- Seattle company has invented a thin and flexible solar panel which can be installed practically anywhere.
- It can power up camps, vehicles, electronics, and some appliances like refrigerators.
- The inventors hope that it could someday be used for powering up and fueling electric cars indefinitely.
- The applications for this type of solar panels are quite limitless and the potential is staggering.
The solar industry is still making great leaps and strides in development these days despite some political hindrances. Now some people may think that solar power is just for homeowners who are rooted in their comfortable suburban lives or businesses with establishments and real estates so big as to accommodate solar panels.
However, with a certain invention in the solar power field, things may soon change. Solar power may no longer be confined to stationary places and immobile abodes. How did you ask? Well, there is now this thing called solar tents, and yes, they generate enough electricity for certain urban luxuries no matter where you are– as long as there is a visible sun.
Adventure Ready, a company from Seattle led by Tom Herzog has had a lot of success making solar energy portable and available for mobile domains. They invented the solar tent with one idea in mind: backcountry travel. So if you ever wanted to go to some remote places in the U.S. or other places devoid of urban establishments, then you might want to check out Herzog and his company’s innovation.
Solar tents are not exactly tents which can harvest sunlight and turn them into electricity, they are mostly laymen’s terms for thin solar panels which are light and portable enough to be placed on tent surfaces. The application and usage are certainly not limited to tents, you can also use them for cars and other surfaces.
“That is designed to recharge the auxiliary batteries in the vehicle, whether you’re moving or sitting still,” explained Tom Herzog. “That solar panel is running the power from the sun through the panel into a charge controller that’s conditioning the power to allow the batteries to accept it.”
So the solar panels Herzog and his company invented are thin enough to be flexible even, but still absorb enough sunlight and transform enough electricity for devices such as the refrigerator, the phone, laptops, portable speakers, lights and more. Of course, you can forget about your air conditioning unit, desktop computer, or dishwasher, but when you are traveling across countries, you don’t need those anyway.
Initially, Adventure Ready just did some custom modified solar panels for powering trucks and vehicles. These vehicles are usually the ones used for camping, large pickups with lots of space at the back for a makeshift tent or a roof. However, the company made quite a breakthrough with their flexible solar panels as it could power up a lot more than a vehicle’s batteries.
Of course, their vehicles are also custom-made to include an operating mechanism for controlling the production of the solar panels. So you might have to consider buying them too if you are convinced that you need the thin and mobile solar panels.
Nevertheless, these products can certainly change the way you can go camping with friends and family. You no longer have to bring those clunky and encumbering gas-powered generators for electricity, you can have an unlimited power source thanks to the panels.
“We have ground lighting for being at camp, so you don’t have to use your headlamp to blind everybody,” Herzog said. “We have a portable refrigerator built into the back of the truck that slides out, so you don’t have to worry about having ice in your cooler and soggy food. That runs off the batteries.”
Herzog did admit that their invention is only a reflection of just how fast the solar industry is moving with its technological progress. These days, solar panels are becoming smaller, more efficient, and more affordable. As such, it was only a matter of time before something this functional was made.
“The technology in the panels has gotten such that the panels have gotten smaller and produce the same amount of power, which makes them more portable, makes them easier to install, and makes them more affordable,” Herzog said.
Ready for the future
Now some of you may be thinking that this new technology would be perfect for electric cars. You guys are correct, Herzog thought of the same thing too when he and his company made the thin solar panels. The idea that you no longer have to charge your electric car back at home and you can keep running it as long as the sun exists can be quite alluring, exciting even.
Herzog and his company probably have sparked the first proposed application of a mobile solar panel being used for cars with no engines. Being able to drive your vehicle and not worry about gas is just one of the best ways humanity can spend their lives. There is also the fact that you no longer have to worry about gas or electricity prices because your car’s energy comes from the sun.
“I think the ultimate goal would be to not have to have an engine. There are a lot of electric vehicles around, but you still have to plug them in. As the technology for solar power increases, you might not even have to plug your vehicle in. You just go. Because you got solar power panels built into the roof. You have them build into the hood. You have them built in anywhere everywhere. The technology is changing just like computers. Every year we’re seeing new stuff come out that’s mind-blowing compared to what was out five years ago,” claimed Herzog.
Of course, the aesthetics of the car could get ruined, solar panels are only subjectively decent-looking in terms of aesthetics. However, the trade-off is so huge and beneficial that a lot of us would probably trade the look of our cars just to be able to use them forever and wherever.
Apart from cars, the thin and flexible solar panels which Adventure Ready invented could also pave way for mobile homes and to be able to live anywhere the sun is shining. You would have power for your electronics and some appliances, basically what makes urban life worth living. The future of the solar industry just got brighter thanks to Herzog and company.
Still, we might have to wait for a while, the technology can only power up some appliances and electronics and the only electric cars right now are four-seaters and not heavy-duty vehicles. As always, there is plenty of room for this sort of technology to grow, all we have to do is support it and wait.