There are still many parts of the world where charging a mobile device is not as easy as plugging it into the wall. If you’re in developing countries, someone’s cabin out in the woods, or an area affected by a natural disaster, you’ll find out that generators and solar chargers play a very important role in today’s society. Pairing solar charging with mobile devices is most certainly nothing new, and these days you can get cases with solar panels or standalone solar chargers for next to nothing.
Most of these are very weak however. The ReadySet solar kit on the other hand is a much more heavy duty solution, and is currently in use in other parts of the world. It pairs a high power solar panel with a large battery that turns all sorts of power inputs into USB and car cigarette lighter outputs that are universal around the world. It’s a product designed for parts of the world where electricity isn’t everywhere, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t useful elsewhere, which is why the company is now on Kickstarter to fund the introduction of the product in the US.
$199 is the price you have to pay to pre-order a ReadySet kit on Kickstarter, which will be sold for $100 more once released. The kit includes the main battery piece, a 15W solar panel, AC adapter for charging from a wall outlet, 3W LED light with a lighter plug, and a universal lithium battery charger that should work for any loose lithium battery from small electronics.
Initially I wasn’t quite sure if this was worth it for two reasons. First of all, it’s unlikely that a company this established actually needs the funds that badly, and I’m not really a huge fan of Kickstarter being used purely for marketing. Second, solar charging is hardly a new thing. Still, I think that it’s a type of accessory that is often overlooked, and it isn’t long since I overheard someone looking for a phone with better battery life than an iPhone in an electronics store, wanting to take the phone off the grid for weeks at a time. An external battery pack of a solar charger is what such a person needs, not a new phone, as phones generally don’t vary that much when it comes to talk time.[Kickstarter]