Recharging Your Gadgets with Solar Wi-fi

By Dr. Zara Dobson

Edited by Andy Ross

We love our new wi-fi tools but it's a chore keeping their batteries fully charged. With many of the recent phones, pads, tablets, and notebooks, the worst headache is deciding on the best way to recharge them. At first I was unsure what I'd find to do with many of these sweet new toys but now I don't know what I'd do without them. I also worry every night about whether I have them all plugged into the right chargers to be ready for the day ahead.

The new devices first hit the marketplace with cords attached to plug into the universal serial bus (USB) ports on a personal computer. This seemed like a pretty cool idea at the time. I was happy with the idea that I could basically plug the device into the PC every night while checking my email. Sadly, like many things, this rapidly became a chore. How can I use my gizmo freely at home if it needs to stay plugged into the computer?

Next came the USB wall adapter. I went looking for one of these as soon as I'd bought my first touch-screen phone. I wanted to connect it into the wall in my bedroom so I'd have it with me at night, but I only had the Flash recharging cable to recharge it. Soon enough I found that a wall adapter came with many of the new products I acquired.

Over the last couple of years I have learned more about wireless charging mats. From what I saw at first, the devices needed special bases to work with them. Not so long ago this limitation was overcome. The world of wi-fi recharging is about to burst wide open.

We need to discuss alternative technology. People who scorn renewable tech say all that green talk is just a way to get folks to buy more expensive devices and that it's all absurd anyway because the predicted global disaster has not yet unfolded. That's debatable, but the main problem with dissing renewable tech is the huge and increasing number of people on the planet who are rapidly updating their lifestyle. Because all those people will need more and more electric power, most of which is currently generated by burning fossil fuel and natural gas, which are non-renewable resources, we're going to hit the limits. It's not hard to see what will happen when all those men and women start to have children and the kids charge their devices with power generated from non-renewable fuels. The right thing to do now is to support technology based on renewable resources and green ideas that can become the sustainable default options for everyone in future.

With that in mind, let me introduce the first renewable approach to charging your mobile or portable devices without wires. Panasonic's new solar-powered wi-fi recharging table is due to be unveiled in late 2011 or early 2012 and will use solar energy gathered by the cells on the face of the table to power up the tools put on the table. This could be the future for green photovoltaic (PV) tech.

Panasonic's new table is Qi enabled. Qi is a standard specification, announced this year by the wireless device industry, for wireless charging tools and the tools they will power up, such as your new smart phone that has a touch-screen display, an app for e-books, and a foldout full-sized keyboard. The Qi standard is new, but most people expect quick compliance and a slew of new product releases. Qi is confirmed for use with older wi-fi units too. Panasonic will soon reveal more about its new solar-powered wi-fi charging table, and other Qi enabled rechargers are sure to follow.

If you want to learn more about solar panel technology and how to include it in your daily life, check out these articles: Solar charging table is totally wireless

Here you can find more about the PV table. is a spin-off of CScout. It is a web service to help people discover the Japanese market and its potential buyers by posting the latest tech stories. It was the first site to report that the PV table was entirely wi-fi. Solar RV battery charger kits review

Here you can learn how to use solar energy to charge up most electric batteries. If you don't want to set up a big solar power system, this could be a good introduction to solar panel products. is a free blog maintained by Hettie, who wants to help people complete the transition from full-time energy dependency to positive electricity efficiency. She offers some great ideas for recreational vehicle (RV) enthusiasts by reviewing RV solar panels that can power up their battery packs and by explaining how they can use solar power in their motor homes and elsewhere. How to sell solar power to a utility company

Here you can more about solar panels and about ways to sell power back to the power company. is a non-profit blog maintained by Shannon, who is a freelance expert on PV for non-commercial use. If you can afford the investment to set up solar energy panels on your property (or meet the requirements for solar tax credits or incentives), she can help you understand how the panels work and how you can include them in your daily life.

Dr. Zara Dobson (Twitter: dr_zara_dobson) is a former postdoctoral specialist at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. After certification in computer science disciplines and technology, she obtained a Ph.D. in biomedical and multimedia information technology at the University of Sydney, Australia. She is a rater for many leading publications in the renewable power sector, such as Renewable Energy World, and a guest journalist on renewable energy.