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The Solar-Powered Laptop

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2385312/The-SOLAR-POWERED-laptop-spell-end-cables-batteries--takes-just-hours-fully-charge.html

SOL laptop was designed to be used in countries with limited electricity

It has solar panels built into the laptop's lid that can be unfolded

Canadian makers claim SOL takes two hours to charge via solar energy

The battery will then last for ten hours on a single charge

So coming to the UK soon then?

It certainly won't be available in Spain as the govt would have to tax it.

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The specs look decent.

I wonder if the HDD is conventional or solid state, and why it's being supplied with Ubuntu and not Windows - a decision based on comparative power consumption, or the fact that W8 is universally acknowledged to be sh!te and has caused sales of laptops to fall?

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I wonder if the HDD is conventional or solid state, and why it's being supplied with Ubuntu and not Windows - a decision based on comparative power consumption, or the fact that W8 is universally acknowledged to be sh!te and has caused sales of laptops to fall?

It's a hard drive. I don't believe you can buy a 320GB SDD for much less than $300, let alone the other components too.

That's probably also why it doesn't run Windows. Hard to hit that price if you're paying the Microsoft Tax.

Of course, if it becomes popular, Microsoft will probably give them as many copies of Windows as they want, to discourage them from running Linux.

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Not especially innovative. I've seen 'solar computers for Africa' 10+ years ago.

To really sing in a low power environment an ARM laptop running a LINUX with LDXE would be ideal. Samsungs ARM Chromebook and Maplin Solar gear could get you a cool DIY option

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Anyone know what the price of solar panelling stuff is compared to regular panels - say for an example an electric car? Why not just make the whole shgell a solar panel?

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Anyone know what the price of solar panelling stuff is compared to regular panels - say for an example an electric car? Why not just make the whole shgell a solar panel?

Probably not cost effective. A 2-3kW home system is around £3.5-5k so custom panels and their extra eight would probably be a lot more.

That said. I've now probably met a dozen people with solar systems on their roof and they utterly rave about them. A 3kW system is generally enough to half the average domestic energy bill but if you can move some of your power use to daylight hours (ie. always do laundry then, etc) and maximise energy efficiency you can radically improve on this. It seems as if solar users make a kind of fun sport out of energy efficiency.

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I'm a bit cynical of this. I just don't believe that you could charge a laptop battery up with such small panels in just 2 hours, even with the best sunlight. Or maybe when they say 'fold out panels' they fold out further than in the pictures in that article?

I have one of those freeloader solar chargers with an extra large panel - takes 4 hours of direct sunlight to charge the battery which is essentially half of a mobile phone charge.

Even the large panels that you see on houses are what, 250 watt maximum output and you wouldn't want to carry one of those around! Better to bung a load on the school rooftop and charge your laptops from there.

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Probably not cost effective. A 2-3kW home system is around £3.5-5k so custom panels and their extra eight would probably be a lot more.

That said. I've now probably met a dozen people with solar systems on their roof and they utterly rave about them. A 3kW system is generally enough to half the average domestic energy bill but if you can move some of your power use to daylight hours (ie. always do laundry then, etc) and maximise energy efficiency you can radically improve on this. It seems as if solar users make a kind of fun sport out of energy efficiency.

Is that with the feed in tariff though (i.e. are they counting their bills as reduced by the amount they receive)?

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Is that with the feed in tariff though (i.e. are they counting their bills as reduced by the amount they receive)?

To be honest, I'm not sure. But if I ever buy a house I'll definitely investigate whether solar might be worth it. Just going by comments like 'it's halved our bills' or 'we now barely pay anything'.

Seems a lot of people go for a 3kW system as it's a good balance of savings and not TOO massive an initial outlay. Of course, it's still going to take years before it pays for itself. But if the government just cancelled a couple of wars and just handed these panels out instead I'm sure we wouldn't be quite of desperate to frack.

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Roof-mounted photovoltaic panel systems here (southern California) seem to have a pretty poor reputation, and for two reasons. 1 - the weight of them can cause structural problems with the roof (especially with older houses), leading to expensive repairs later, and 2 - if the system is installed under a hire/purchase arrangement (you don't pay up-front for the system and installation, but agree to give the installer the excess electricity they generate for X years afterwards - usually 25) that still has time to run, your house is virtually unsellable. This is because the contracts obliges you to keep the system in serviceable condition, including repairs to the roof as necessary. As a general rule, if you see a house advertised for 20-40% under the typical market value, the reason is because no-one will lend a mortgage on it, usually due either a serious termite problem or PV panels on the roof. Plus, electricity is so much cheaper than in the UK (around half the price per kw/h in real terms) that the savings to be made are not as great, unless you have a large house with air conditioning running throughout the daylight hours (unlikely, if you go out to work).

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To be honest, I'm not sure. But if I ever buy a house I'll definitely investigate whether solar might be worth it. Just going by comments like 'it's halved our bills' or 'we now barely pay anything'.

Do they factor in the cost of the panels when making those statements? My very limited research is that it is a big out lay up front for a small gain over the longer term.

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Do they factor in the cost of the panels when making those statements? My very limited research is that it is a big out lay up front for a small gain over the longer term.

No. Which is why you have to personally happen to like the idea of low energy usage. Otherwise they'd be everywhere. Eventually they do pay for themselves, though. Obviously if you can competently DIY a good value PV kit onto your roof you'll get there faster than a more expensive installation and if you can organise your life you use more power in daylight hours.

If it was me running the show I'd cancel the next couple of wars and use the savings to hand them out by lottery to anyone who wants them. Much better for energy security.

I think after decades of home appliance-inflation too energy use may be peaking. I'm quite impressed how a modern washing machine seems to work on much less power than an old clunker. People are doing things on low-power laptops and iPads they may have been doing on wheezing desktop PCs a few years back. I watch more audio-visual stuff on my laptop than the TV these days.

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Roof-mounted photovoltaic panel systems here (southern California) seem to have a pretty poor reputation, and for two reasons. 1 - the weight of them can cause structural problems with the roof (especially with older houses), leading to expensive repairs later, and 2 - if the system is installed under a hire/purchase arrangement (you don't pay up-front for the system and installation, but agree to give the installer the excess electricity they generate for X years afterwards - usually 25) that still has time to run, your house is virtually unsellable. This is because the contracts obliges you to keep the system in serviceable condition, including repairs to the roof as necessary. As a general rule, if you see a house advertised for 20-40% under the typical market value, the reason is because no-one will lend a mortgage on it, usually due either a serious termite problem or PV panels on the roof. Plus, electricity is so much cheaper than in the UK (around half the price per kw/h in real terms) that the savings to be made are not as great, unless you have a large house with air conditioning running throughout the daylight hours (unlikely, if you go out to work).

Agreed on that! Leasing your roof to a power company is not a good idea! :o

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