Putting an array of solar panels on your roof to power your home is still an expensive proposition. But portable solar chargers are getting more and more affordable all the time — and now a Kickstarter campaign is aimed at raising money for a portable charging solution called the SunVolt.

The SunVolt is a messenger bag-sized solar panel which you can use to charge phones, tablets, MP3 players, or other portable, battery-powered devices. It will come with a messenger bag-like carrying case that also includes pockets for mobile devices.


The developers plan to offer 10W and 15W models. You can make a pledge of $85 or more to reserve a 10W unit, or $105 or more to get a 15W unit. Both are expected to ship in October.

Once the SunVolt exits the fundraising stage, those prices are expected to rise to $110 and $135, respectively.

As a Kickstarter project, it’s worth noting that a pledge isn’t the same thing as a purchase. If the company has trouble bringing the SunVolt to market, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get your money back. But SunVolt has already exceeded its fundraising goal, which may increase the chances of this product coming to market as planned.

The SunVolt Power Station Charging Kit includes a monocrystalline solar panel, a carrying case, a power regulation circuit, multiple charging ports (2 on the 10W model, and 3 on the 15W version), and USB, microUSB, and miniUSB charging tips.

Unlike some solar chargers like those from Voltaic Systems, the SunVolt doesn’t include any batteries. That means the charging system doesn’t store any power — instead, you plug in a phone or tablet and charge it directly from the solar panel.

But if you want to store power for use at night or on a cloudy day, you can always plug in a portable battery pack which you can use to keep your mobile devices charged later.

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6 replies on “SunVolt is raising funds for an $85 portable 10W solar charger”

  1. Is this thing better than the existing products that you can buy? For example, the ones you can get from REI?

  2. I am going to wait for solar panels to increase their efficiency substantially.
    There are lots of solar chargers for mobile devices. I would like a solar charger that is able to charge something more substantial, such as a marine battery. Yes, it is an apples to coconuts comparison, will cost more, but its applications are wider, such as after a hurricane, earthquake, or snowstorm.

    Otherwise, I’ll just stick to a diesel generator.

    1. If you’re wanting to charge something as heavy as a marine battery, you probably don’t care about the portability of a small panel. You could just buy a 100W panel and a charge controller and be done.

    2. You’re going to be waiting forever. Solar panels will increase their efficiency, but never substantially, there is only 1300W of energy per square meter (10sq feet) that reaches the earth. Then you have effects of atmosphere reducing that amount and there’s simply not that much energy you can get from a small portable panel even if you were 100% efficient.

    1. That’s kind of an apples to oranges (or Samsungs) comparison. Solyndra made its own expensive solar panels for commercial installation.

      This is a company that basically buys cheap solar panels from Chinese manufacturers, hooks up a power regulator and charging adapters, and throws the whole thing into a carrying case for portable use.

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