Our friend Ken Banks of Kiwanja.net and NGOMobile wrote about the challenge of mobile phone charging in off grid Africa; noting that this solar powered charger could be one of the solutions.
I quite agree; two years ago i bought a similar solar powered charger that cost $99. The charger pictured above is made by G24 innovations, and costs $20. This is just the kind of technology that AfriGadget likes, because it is not only quite handy to have, but it is empowering and well suited for off-grid rural areas in Africa, California or anywhere with sunlight for that matter. Ken explains it best…
In some rural areas, where the lack of reliable mains power might be the difference between making it worth owning a mobile or not, a small solar panel such as this could be a deal clincher. Of course, solar energy has been touted as a solution for charging mobile devices for years now, but what’s interesting about this is the cost. Suddenly, it actually seems possible. And by possible, what I really mean is affordable.
Read more about the device.
18 thoughts on “Affordable solar charger for Mobile Phones”
Great that you picked up on this! I met G24i at Mobile World Congress and was pretty surprised when they told me what the panel cost. It’s about the length and width of an average laptop, and about 8mm deep. It’s made of the same kind of material you find on rucksacks, so seems quite durable, and the solar panels themselves are behind a plastic screen.
There have been numerous attempts to build rugged solar chargers for rural markets, many of which have failed. I have a feeling that these guys might be onto something, and as Dave comments on his own Blog (if you follow the link through) at $20 there’s no reason why panels can’t be provided to teams of remote health workers, field staff, etc.
I’m in discussions with G24i about a number of project ideas, and willbe sure to keep Afrigadget in the loop.
Great! I assume the $20 is for the 1/2 watt version. They also have a 1 watt version. It’s also modular so you can purchase another and plug them into each other.
I have seen some prototypes of phones with small solar cells on the back hoping someone will actually start selling them… but I do not see them coming into production any time soon. For now, a solution such as this will have to suffice. It’s a great tool, now at a great price.
Sounds like a great idea (and, incidentally, one which would work well here in Florida as well).
My only question is concerning the cell phone itself. How does sitting in the intense sun affect it over time?
Now this can be evaluated! unlike some of the other ideas published.
I worked at a factory in rural KwaZulu Natal – every electrical socket was filled with a cellular when the operators came to work in the morning. Maybe a single panel can charge a few phones if left through the working day or pads can be shared by family or neighbours – $ 20 is still significant!
Be sure to not leave the LCD screen exposed to the sun for long. Not sure how much the phone and circuitry can withstand the heat.
I recall being in rural Southern Sudan this last summer. I was teaching to pastors at one of the local church buildings. Everyone was always clamoring for the few electrical outlets to charge their phone.
Thanks everyone for your comments and additional information, i am looking forward to purchasing this device and testing it out!
This is great news – I’m going to Port Harcourt in June and I feel like I need to take a bunch of these back to the rural areas. Could be a nice little business for a few people as despite all the oil we still dont have electricity in the towns and villages of the Delta region.
this is cool
it will be a desirable gadget one day.. 🙂