Thursday, August 21, 2008

Suckered By Mini Solar Panels

Terry and I would love to take advantage of Colorado's 300-plus days of sunshine by adding solar panels to our home, but don't have an extra $20K in the bank to pay for it. That's why I splurged and paid $100 for this little gadget instead--the Solio universal charger. Using solar panels, it recharges most gadgets, including most cell phones, PDA's, Apple products and digital cameras. I figured getting off the grid for even a little bit is better than nothing.

Unfortunately, Solio's lack of reliability makes me regret this purchase. We keep the gadget propped in our bedroom window, where it gets plenty of sunshine to charge. But, for whatever reason, I've had about 50% success rate for charging my cell phone with the device. Even though the device says it is fully charged, sometimes when I plug my phone to it, nothing happens. Plus, it takes twice as long to charge my cell phone with Solio than with a conventional charger.

So my Thrifty Green Thursday tip is put your $100 in savings for solar panels instead of buying a Solio. To learn some more tips, click here.


Joy said...

I was first thrilled to read that there was an easier solution than rooftop solar panels and then crushed to hear that it doesn't really work. Ugh! Here in Oregon we get much less sunlight so it would probably be even less efficient. I do dream of getting a solar powered hot water heater though. They cost between three and five thousand dollars but tend to pay for themselves in much less time than solar panels. Also, our utility company here provides interest free loans so it's a pretty great opportunity. Thanks for joining Thrifty Green Thursday this week!

EatPlayLove said...

very cool, I have a very finicky cell phone as far as charging goes!

Kathleen said...

thats one of the criterian for our next house, to either get or have panels. really we shouldn't be building houses in Co without them.

Rebecca said...

I saw that they make some sort of solar panel bag that you can plug your cell phone and other gadgets into. I wonder if it works any better?

Thanks for joining Thrifty Green Thursday . . . but don't forget to link back to the Green Baby Guide in your post! Thanks!

sara l said...

I saw these a while back and was in love until I read a few reviews. I wish that they'd worked out better because we have all sorts of little things I'd like to take off of the grid.