Charge Your Device with a Solar Tree

The USB Solar Charger Tree from Brando can charge most any USB-chargeable mobile phone or other devices.  The charger contains a 3000mAh polymer battery that can be charged by the sun or by AC power.  It outputs 5V/1000mA of charging power, and it comes with a variety of adapter tips for mobile phones.  (There’s apparently no tip for Apple products, but they do show an iPhone being charged using an Apple 30-pin connector cable.)  It may not be as portable as flat panel solar collectors, but the USB Solar Charger Tree is just as “green” and looks a lot nicer.  It’s $55.00 at Brando.

Posted in: Cables, Batteries and Chargers, News

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Tip July 19, 2012, 1:13 pm

    Okay it seems some folks have gone a little overboard with this green stuff don’t you think? (Not tossing any stones at you Janet :) — you are just reporting on what’s out there).
    Let’s do some math here (this is based upon an iPhone 4).
    Let’s assume you plug your iPhone in every night while you sleep and assume you sleep 8 hours a night.
    That means the iPhone is plugged in for a total of about 3000 (8×365) hours a year (actually 2920 but we’ll round up).
    For full out charging the iPhone consumes about 4 watts MAX (keep in mind this will drop off some if the phone is fully charged sitting on the charger but we’ll call it 4 for the full time).
    So 4 watts for 3000 hours comes up to 12,000 watt-hours or about 12 KWH of electricity per year.
    The average cost of electricity in the US is currently about 7.5 cents per KWH – so charging your phone for the entire YEAR cost about 90 cents.
    Okay – so we go spend $55 to offset a cost of 90 cents per year — I seriously doubt any phone has a service life of 61 years (the payback time).
    Now on to the carbon foot print — I’m willing to bet that the footprint to produce all of the plastics and other materials (and the production energy) necessary for this “green tree” totals a whole heck of a lot more than the foot print to produce those 12 KWH of electricity per year for the life of the phone.
    I fully get that folks want to step up and do what they can to help the environment but it would seem that products like this actually do more harm than good yet we see them coming out all over the place touted as “green” alternatives. No Hardly!!

  • Bob DeLoyd July 20, 2012, 7:56 pm

    @Tip
    Anyways, I just didn’t want anyone to get the wrong impression that solar power or having a small carbon footprint is foolish or a wasted effort. It’s about the planet, being responsible, and what nasty chemicals we put into the air and the environment. We make many things, medicines, plastics…, out of oil, but once we burn oil we can’t recycle it to make something else. Remember the stuff we burn we breath.

    I agree with you. This unit would take days to charge the included 3000mAh battery by the tiny solar squares it uses. So it really is a mute point for any useful solar power using this. You’d need at least 5watt to 10watt solar to do any useful charging.
    There’s a nice one on Amazon at a decent price called “Instapark® 10 Watt Solar Panel Portable Solar Charger with Dual USB Ports for iPhone, iPad & all other USB Compatible Devices” that would do the trick very well.

    I run my whole house off of solar and have been doing so for over a decade. Before that, I lived on a boat using solar- an old Arco 55watt panel that I bought in the early 80s and still use it to this day.
    Here’s my website: http://www.coppermountainmesa.com/solar1.html
    I really have to update the website :)

    I’ve heard arguments that solar power uses more energy in materials to construct than they’ll ever put out- also that it would take so many years to break even that it wouldn’t be worth it. I even watched a program on my TV using solar power telling how solar power was a useless waste of money; I couldn’t stop myself from laughing… I pay no bills to Edison.
    I think my Arco 55watt panel has exceeded that and more.

    I did a Google image search on Arco 55 watt and my panel was right at the top :)

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