Solar briefcase brightens blogger's day

There is a special place in my heart for anything free. That place is filled with assorted tchotchkes like flash drives and pens from innumerable conferences, free samples of bourbon chicken, and free shots on my birthday.

solar briefcase
Credit: Velleman
Solar Generator Briefcase

Solar panels, likewise, touch the place in my heart that says: "Hey, you're getting something free." Even though the SOL8 Solar Generator Briefcase is technically not free, the power you get from it is. And with today's sky-high energy prices, who couldn't use a little free power?

The solar briefcase costs $139, or roughly the same price as two long-life laptop batteries or hundreds of AA batteries. The briefcase has a working voltage of 14 volts and provides a maximum of 13 watts of power. It is powerful enough to charge 12-volt devices like car or boat batteries and also provides enough power to charge laptops, GPS receivers and other consumer electronics.

Voltaic Systems makes similar solar-powered backpacks and briefcases geared toward charging cell phones and laptops.

The Solar Generator Briefcase is 20.1 inches by 14.7 inches by 1.6 inches and weighs 9.7 pounds.