We enjoy seeing new solar-powered adaptations of various gadgets as well as solar chargers for mobile devices. Eton’s iPod speaker dock and adventure tool and Goal Zero’s portable solar charger are all great examples of solar energy being put to use to satisfy our lifestyle choices. But what about a device that could power bigger appliances that tend to guzzle electricity and possibly even provide relief in disaster stricken areas? As we’ve previously reported, UK-based thousandsuns has created just such a portable solar power module, which it calls the SolarPod. However, due in part to a lawsuit with Apple, the Solarpod has been unavailable in the U.S. Now we learn that not only is thousandsuns making the device available in the US, but also that it has undergone a bit of a make-over that makes the notion of the device that much more appealing.
The SolarPod combines a high-capacity Lithium Iron Phosphate battery, a 400 watt inverter (up from the previous 300 watt inverter), a standard three-pin power socket (which the company says can be altered to suit any country’s standard), two USB ports and a 12-volt car socket all wrapped up in a more modern looking, laser-cut aluminum chassis. The carrying case that comes with the Solarpod can also be outfitted with an optional 15 watt solar panel so that the device can be charged while sitting in its case.
When combined with either of thousandsuns’ available folding, stand-mountable solar panels, the nine pound device becomes a practical, portable power plant. Literature on the solarpod indicates the device, when fully charged, could power a 19 inch LCD TV for up to 24 hours, charge a smart phone about 40 times or run an under-counter refrigerator for 18 hours. Thousandsuns indicates a 60-watt solar panel in direct sunlight can charge the Solarpod’s battery to capacity in about four hours. If sun charging isn’t an immediate option, the Solarpod can also be charged from the wall or from a 12 volt power source.
The device retails in the UK for £499 (GBP) which, today, translates to about $800.00. No word was issued on what the Solarpod will go for once it hits US soil.