New Solar Panels Make Charging Cell Phones Portable, Stylish

February 09, 2010

While solar power chargers for cell phones or GPS devices are not new to techies, a new solar technology is now making recharging your phone as easy as grabbing your beach tote. G24 Innovations, the company that is licensing the technology, says that dye-sensitized cells will be used to provide power for various portable devices from e-book readers and cell phones to wireless sensors and keyboards. The solar cells will most likely be made into thin, flexible panels that will then be stitched into various consumer products such as e-book covers, tennis bags, backpacks, golf, shopping and beach bags. Individuals will then be able to plug their phones or music players into the bags using a USB cord. Solar panels on the bags will have 11 cells each, and wiring will attach the panel to a battery pack in the bag. The technology uses a photosensitive dye to start its energy production, similar to the way leaves use chlorophyll to begin photosynthesis. Currently, most photovoltaic cells are still based on silicon or related inorganic materials, not dyes. While the technology works best in direct sunlight (taking six to eight sunny hours outside for the panel to fuel the charger), the cells have even shown to generate voltage from moonlight.