Monday, January 19, 2009

What a Market this could be.

Forget Large-scale Energy Production for a moment. Turn your eyes from the rooftops, fields, and deserts where you could put PV or Concentrating Solar. For a moment, look around your house and think of all of the possibilities for very Small-scale Solar.

Somebody at Yahoo joked about giving someone a Solar Powered Flashlight, as if, I suppose, you waited until you needed it before you decided to try and charge it up. Thinking about it, though, who wouldn't want a solar powered flashlight for an emergency (with LED lighting). I have a flashlight sitting at my desk, and for the few hours of actual emergency light it's provided, I've changed the batteries numerous times (my Son likes to play with it). Rather than going hit and miss with a flashlight that may or may not have charge in its batteries for an emergency, why not have a flashlight that is constantly charging, as long as light is present?

Another example that's come up is based on the smoke detector that is currently sitting on my kitchen counter. The Smoke Detector is dependent on the tiniest flow of charge to trigger the alarm, and yet, they come with batteries that just might not be there when you need them. The smallest solar chip or thin-film coating could keep a very small battery charged up for a very very long time.

The list goes on. Remote Controls, MP3 Players, Cell Phones, Game Controllers, ... remote devices in general. Sure, depending on your amount of time talking on the phone, or listening to music, you might need a way to plug in the device to give the batteries a boost, but it seems to me that if you could bake a durable thin film onto the surface, you'd be set for rather a much longer time between charges, at the very least.

BTW: Googling "solar flashlight" does turn up solar flashlights. On the other hand, I just did a bunch of calculations, and I have a hard time believing that the quality of these things, based on today's common batteries, solar collectors, and manufacturing scale, is terribly high. It will take some time, and some good combinations of technological advancement before quality solar remote items become commonplace.

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