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New Products That Use Solar Energy to Power Computers

written by: •edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/12/2012

We all know that solar power is a great sustainable energy source but can it be harnessed to run your computer system?

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    Using Solar Power

    Solar energy comes from both light and radiant heat from the sun. Solar power refers to electricity that is generated from solar radiation at a particular point in time. Current solar energy technologies can provide electrical power by using heat engines or photovoltaic cells.

    A number of computer producers are working hard these days to promote and use sustainable and renewable energy sources. Solar power is just one of a range of option thought it is currently the most popular because the technology is available and it does make a practical solution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

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    Solar Products to Power Computers

    Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard are both starting to promote solar powered computing options, though this doesn’t mean that the computers themselves are solar. Lenovo has joined the trend with Advanced Energy Group's Solar-PowerPAC II. It comprises a complete package containing the AC/DC base unit with internal 60 amp-hour sealed battery and detachable pull-handle. The solar electric panel has a high-tempered safety glass covering, rigid aluminum frame and integrated, advanced solar controller with 15 foot solar power cord.The unit is virtually silent and quite flexible. The 120 VAC/60 Hz and 12 VDC power supply can be operated with or without the solar panel depending on the application, the devices requiring power, and the run times desired. In most cases, the solar panel extends run time significantly by supplying power from the sun as power is being removed from the base unit.

    "It's really a little subjective in terms of what will be the benefit. But the device can power the PC and do it on a rather sustainable basis," said Carl McClellan, owner of Advanced Energy

    Hewlett-Packard started reselling the same device for point-of-sale (POS) computers earlier this year.

    Solartron Technologies have also developed a solar powered computing solution. Solar Home is a packages designed specifically to power a full-size computer system. The package includes:

    ·3 Mitsubishi industrial grade 120 Watt crystalline solar modules with a 25 year warranty

    ·A Xantrex 35 amp charge controller with all metal housing

    ·A Xantrex Prosine 2.0 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter/charger