As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, we are beginning to seek more eco-friendly ways to live, like using solar powered computers. One way is to use solar energy to power our technology, creating a greener, more sustainable way of living. Basically, any type of device or appliance can be run on solar power with the proper equipment.
We are all used to computers that are traditionally run on electricity generated from fossil fuels, but what you probably haven’t heard of are solar-powered computers. We bet the wheels in your head are already turning, and you’re anxious to know how computers can be powered by solar energy. Read on to find out more!
What Brands Make Solar Powered Computers?
Although it’s possible to have a computer that runs entirely on an in-built solar system, they aren’t yet popular because not many companies have taken the bold step to start producing them. But a few brands that have tried their hands out at it include Thinlab’s All-In-One Ryzen Solar Computer, Samsung’s NC215S solar laptop, WiWe’s Ubuntu Sol laptop, NIWA office Windows 10 computer solar system, and Fujitsu’s solar laptop called Luce.
Despite the rapid rate of advancement in computer technologies, there are still a lot of concerns regarding the manufacture of solar-powered computer systems. The primary concern is that the cost of developing such technology and manufacturing is very high. There is still a lot of extensive research work to be done in implanting solar energy in computers.
However, it’s much easier to charge typical computers with solar power. The requirements to set it up include:
- One or two solar panels that are powerful enough to run the computer; the solar panels must be rated at least 20 percent more than what you need.
- A solar charge controller that helps to regulate the current in the battery and prevents the battery from discharging when there’s no sunshine or in the night.
- 12-volt batteries
- An AC to DC inverter that the laptop can be plugged into.
Are Solar Powered Computers Safe?
Not only are solar-powered computers eco-friendly, they are also very safe to use even while charging with solar power. With solar energy, you don’t need to worry about sudden power surges causing damage to your device.
However, you must be careful to prevent your solar-powered computer from experiencing adverse elements such as lightning strikes which can interrupt your work or ultimately damage your computer.
How Long Do Solar Powered Computers Charge?
Fully solar-powered computers are believed to charge within just one to two hours of exposure to the sun. However, computers that are charged with solar panels charge depending on the power of the computer itself.
A standard PC uses between 250 to 300 Watts per hour, while a gaming PC uses about 500 Watts per hour. So the time your computer will take to charge fully is dependent on the amount of power your solar panels generate. If you have a solar panel that produces 100 Watts per hour, your standard PC will take about 3 hours to charge, while a gaming PC will take about 5 hours to charge.
How Safe is Your Data While Charging?
One primary concern for those trying to switch to solar-powered computers is whether the data stored on your system will be safe while charging. Well, your data is safe when you’re charging with solar panels.
Most computers, including the few in-built solar-powered systems that have been produced, are designed to automatically backup your data. For example, the Samsung NC215S solar laptop automatically backs up your data to the hard drive or an external drive and recovers your data quickly.
How Long Do Solar Computer Batteries Last?
Brands that have already produced solar-powered laptops claim that the batteries can last anywhere between 8-15 hours when they’re fully charged. And these laptops reach full charge after only two hours in the sun.
However, the 12v solar batteries used when using external solar panels can last about a day or two when fully charged. And it takes about two to three days for it to charge fully.
What Are the Best Solar Computers and How Much Do They Cost?
There are only a handful of solar computers available globally, and they aren’t popular, so it’s a little challenging to tell which is best. However, we know that the Ubuntu Sol laptop produced by WeWi is one of the best solar laptops available. As for the cost of these computers, those that are on the market are a little more expensive than regular ones.
For example, the Samsung with the NC215S solar laptop costs about $400, the WiWe with the Sol solar laptop sells for $350, while the NIWA office Windows 10 solar computer system, which is the least expensive so far, costs $300.
Solar Powered Computers vs. Normal Computers with Solar Charger
Although there aren’t a lot of fully solar-powered computers, the few that are currently available are proof that they may be practical one day. But, we still have to weigh the benefits of solar computers with that of regular computers and determine which is better.
For starters, solar power is an infinite source of energy, and all you have to do is expose the panels to light for the computer to charge. This system is better than regular computers that depend on electricity generated from fossil fuels that are in limited supply. Solar computers also don’t produce any by-products that can cause pollution, unlike regular computers that use electric power that releases toxins.
At the high end, solar computers can last up to 15 hours without sunlight. They are better than regular computers that can only last about 5-6 hours on a full charge. They also help you save money by reducing your utility bill. Finally, solar computers are low maintenance, provide your computer with uninterrupted power, and save you time and energy by doing the charging for you.
Fully solar-powered computers may be the right choice for a select group of folks, but given the limited options on the market, you can also explore getting a solar panel charging set-up for a normal laptop.