Solar powered laptop – too good to be true?

By | August 6, 2013
The marketing rumors on this are incredible – two hour charge time, 10 hours operating time. But there are no details on it or how that works. Given that traditional solar cells take considerably longer to charge a laptop and are incredibly bulky (and the ones in the marketing materials look like traditional solar cells), I'm inclined to dismiss Sol as empty speculation.

But perhaps I'm wrong: any guesses on how to obtain that sort of solar conversion efficiency?

/via +Panah Rad 

Meet Sol – The Solar-Powered Ubuntu Laptop
Meet the solar-powered laptop with a 10 hour battery, 4 solar panels, running Ubuntu-powered laptop that charges from the sun in 2 hours.

11 thoughts on “Solar powered laptop – too good to be true?

  1. Roland Mösl

    +Russell Davison The Dell Optiplex is a desktop computer!

    Desktops use usual much more than a notebook, but the difference becomes smaller.

    Notebooks had been 1994 to now very similar in power usage.

    Ultrabooks and Netbooks about 40% less.

    But Desktop computers with CRT hat been usual 160 to 200 W in 1998.

    Reply
  2. Juaquin Anderson

    Hard to believe the modern laptops use so much power..

    The laptop I wanted to make solar powered in 2005 was a white 15 in iBook g3. It was really good on power.. Took about 16 watts to run it.

    Reply
  3. Russell Davison

    Here are some lab test results showing that notebooks are usually 50 watt:
    https://secure.www.upenn.edu/computing/resources/category/hardware/article/computer-power-usage
    Apple MacBook Pro, 13-inch "Retina"
    (purchased mid 2012)
    2.5 GHz Core i5, 8.0 GB RAM,
    256 GB solid state drive, OS X 10.8.3 (dirty)
    1W (off) 50W (boot) 49-53W (peak) 1W (sleep) 53W (battery charging).
    Dell Latitude E4200, 12-inch
    (purchased late 2008)
    1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, 3.0 GB RAM,
    128 GB solid state drive,
    Windows Vista Business 64-bit (dirty)
    1W (off) 48W (boot) 38-40W (peak) 1W (sleep) 66-71 (battery charging).

    Reply
  4. Roland Mösl

    +Russell Davison Normal notebooks are usual 22 to 30 Watt

    Ultrabooks and Netbooks 12 to 16 Watt

    I have an Medion Akoya S4113 ultrabook, because the low energy consumption helps much at using the notebook with solar.

    Reply
  5. Roland Mösl

    +Russell Davison What has the power of the transformer to do with this?

    65 W are for battery charging AND 100% CPU usage at the same time.

    Some cars have a 500 PS engine, but quess how much they need on a country road at 80 km/h.

    Purchase a good real Watt Meter. Cheap so called "Watt Meters" are most times only VA meters or show some sort of average between Watt and VA.

    My notebook is just right now at 13 Watt from the socket and has also a 65 W power supply

    Reply
  6. Russell Davison

    My ASUS laptops use a 65W transformer, so I'd need a battery  up to 650W for 10 hours of operation. That would obviously be a maximum when ambient temperatures are 35 Celsius, DVD is running, screen is bright to combat the sunshine. If I reduce some of the services then I can drop to 350 W for 10 hours. So, I'd need a solar cell of (say) 50 W to allow me store some energy for when the sun isn't shining.

    Reply
  7. Juaquin Anderson

    The traditional solar cells may have 40 watts in full sun.. Making this spec almost feasable, if the charge efficiency was really good.

    With less than full direct sun the charge efficiency of lion batteries would likely drop.

    The solar cells pictured would likely power the laptop fine in reasonable sunlight.

    Reply
  8. Roland Mösl

    10 hours run time at a ultrabook translates into 70 Wh battery capacity.

    My old AUUS UL30A had vith 84 Wh battery even 12 hours run time in the airplene.

    In the airplane means display dimmed to minimum, no internet, most programs closed.

    At the beach, I have internet connection by the hot spot function of my Android cell phone. The display is to maximum light. This halvs run time.

    For charged in 2 hours, the photovoltaic should have 50 W.

    This because
    1.) PV is not optimal towards sun
    2.) At high temperature,less efficiency of PV

    Reply
  9. Roland Mösl

    And how long is the cable between the solar cells and the notebook?

    I am just right now with my solar equipment

    http://laptop.pege.org/2012-outdoor/

    at the beach of Obertrum lake in Saalzburg Austria

    The cable should be minimal 5 m long,
    to work with the notebook comfortable in the shadow of trees, while the photovoltaic produces the power at full sun shine.

    Reply

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