One of the most common things seen today in calling a gadget green is to slap solar panels on it. All manner of cheap designs have some sort of panel installed to harness solar power, not always efficiently, as a means to power some attached device like a cell phone through cleaner energy. There are a handful of companies out there, however, doing it right, and we believe solar bags maker Voltaic Systems happens to be one of them.
Voltaic designs and sells bags with solar panels installed in them, such as the Converter Solar Backpack we reviewed a few months ago. These bags harvest the sun’s energy through the panels and channel it into a power storage unit you later can connect to a compatible device in need of electricity. Voltaic is one of the pioneers in the space of this type of solar bag technology. To learn more about them, we interviewed its head tech expert Jeff Crystal to see exactly how good solar gadget technology works.
EarthTechling (ET): How did Voltaic come into existence?
Jeff Crystal: Our founder and lead designer, Shayne McQuade, was traveling in Spain with a small standalone solar charger and was frustrated on two levels. First, it had so few solar cells (about 1 Watt) that it barely worked and second, he found that he often would forget to take it out of his bag and set it up to catch available sun. The first solar backpack was the opposite of that solar charger. There was lots of area for solar panels (4 Watts) and you didn’t have to worry about setting it up, because it was set up. A few blogs including Treehugger picked up the bag and the company took off from there.