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Solar briefcase charges gadgets on the go

Add Reware's ProFolio to the ever-expanding field of solar-powered bags.

If you spot Reware's shiny new briefcase on the commute to work, it's probably doing more than reflecting the sun. It's using that energy to charge portable electronics tucked inside.

Reware, maker of the Juice Bags line of solar-charging bags, released the Juice Bags ProFolio this week. The solar-powered briefcase is yet another tote that offers a way to charge electronics--including PDAs, cell phones, and MP3 players--away from the office. The attache can connect to your electronics via a built-in car lighter adapter, and can power electronics from one to four hours, depending on how many Juice Bags they're connected to.

ProFolio briefcase

The bag doesn't contain enough solar power to charge a laptop, though it can carry a 15-inch machine.

Reware managing partner Henry Gentenaar said the ProFolio answers a request from businesspeople for a device that would charge electronics on the go. He also said the bag marks an easy step for companies trying to go green.

Reware claims its solar panels are so powerful they obviate the need for a backup battery--so long as employees have the time to lay their briefcases out in the sun long enough to charge up their gear.

The ProFolio costs $299 in a current introductory sale, but will cost $399 in the future.

The ProFolio is just the latest in the fast-growing field of solar-powered bags. Reware also makes messenger bags, backpacks, and beach totes with its 7-watt solar panel made up of 52 micro solar cells. In January, Voltaic Systems introduced the Voltaic Generator with a 14-watt solar panel for charging laptops, which was a step up from the original 4-watt bags.

Also making their way onto the market are solar-powered purses, notably the Power Purse or the Solar Bag from Picard, which reportedly cost upwards of $600.

The prices and sometimes questionable looks of solar-powered bags may make some sunshine-appreciating buyers wary. For those folks, maybe a solar-powered bra is the answer?