ReadySet Solar Kit Poised To Take U.S. By Storm

When it comes to grid reliability or limited access to affordable electricity, we often find ourselves discussing the plight of those in Africa or other developing nations. Here in America, we’ve got lots of energy, lots of electrical sockets, and lots of devices to plug into them. Only when a storm knocks out the power do we stop to think about how much harder our lives would be without this luxury.

Although America may have  fairly reliable electrical grid, it doesn’t always mean we can afford that power. Recent statistics show that the average electricity bill in the U.S. has grown to $163 per month, and many are desperate for ways to reduce their consumption. A few years ago, San Francisco-based company Fenix International developed the ReadySet Solar Kit to help solve Africans’ energy problems. Now, Americans are begging them to bring it home.

ready-set-solar-kit

Image via Fenix International/Kickstarter

We’ve featured lots of off-grid charging devices in the past, from solar-powered generators to camping pots that can juice up your phone. They’re all awesome, but they share a common limitation–there’s usually only one way they can gather energy. The ReadySet Solar kit, on the other hand, can charge from a variety of different sources including solar panels, bicycle generators, micro-wind turbines, and more.

“We designed the ReadySet with an open standard input (bind posts and banana plugs) so that it will work with alternative sources of power generation,” write the designers. “We also chose open standard outputs (12v Car Lighter Adapter and 5v USB) so that hardware developers can create new applications, including anything from UV water purifiers to Vaccine Refrigerators.”

The device has been successful in Africa, and the company thought using a Kickstarter campaign to make it available in the U.S. would be a great way to gather funding necessary to further their philanthropic work. The campaign has already blasted through its $20,000 goal, but there’s still time to get in on the action.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • Here’s a thought: can 15 watts (what this kit produces) power a complete home stereo system? Heck, why stop there, how about a home theater or whole-house system? With the right (i.e. energy-efficient) components, and maybe if I were to use 2-3 of these solar systems together…  This sounds like an interesting project.

      • paul radcliff

        15 watts will not give enough incandescent light to read by, although LED or twisted fluorescents would. Without the home stereo, most of those use a minimum of 100 watts and some go up to over 3,000 watts! Think much bigger, like a hundred times times ten! 1,000 X 15 watts = 15,000 watts. For a good sized home, that capacity would allow you to charge the electric company to buy your excess power! For more modest needs, scale down, accordingly.

    • Pfiddle

      Fine – but where’s to glen?
      Supposing I wanted to buy one to add to the collection I already have – where’s the info?
      Please!

    • paul radcliff

      Great. Something to charge our portable devices for almost free. How about a bigger package, to actually lessen my electric bill, that connects to my house??? For full-time savings, wind and solar, put together in a variety of sizes and applications, would sell like hot cakes, in the right markets. Make them affordable and reliable, it would be a win-win for everyone!! 
      Companies looking to make a killing in the Green Energy market are missing the point. People want savings, not to have their pocketbooks raped.

    • cool