Solar Gadgets Go Mainstream

solar flashlight Solar Gadgets Go Mainstream

Solar-powered gadgets—which just a couple months ago were trendy,kooky little things, like bouncy grasshoppers and smiling, wavingplastic flowers found primarily online—are becoming more practical andmore mainstream.

It’s not Christmas, but Stephanie Snyder in Denver, Colo., strungwhite LED lights over the balcony railing of her high-rise condo.

“Check it out,” she said holding up a square the size of an averagesmart phone attached to the end of the cord. “It’s solar-powered. Thislittle thing here is it, and I don’t have to plug them in.”

She found the lights at Target for $17, she said.

The lights are just one product among many that have already made it to mainstream retail shelves.

This week, Ralph Lauren announced its fancy new solar-poweredbackpack. The bulky accessory has long been available online and through certain niche outdoors stores.

But Ralph Lauren has added its luxury label to drive the product tothe top of search engines and wish lists alike. It’s available in blackor bright orange. The backpack is reported to provide 3.45 watts ofpower, enough to fully charge an iPhone in fewer than three hours,according to the retailer’s site. It sells for $795.

The Global Sources spring electronics show starts today in Hong Kong, according to press releases, and traditionally draws buyers from majorwholesalers and retailers like General Electric, Honeywell, Black &Decker and Best Buy. The show features more than 3,000 supplier booths.This year, organizers decided to add a Solar & Energy SavingsProducts show to the event for the first time.

The new Solar and Energy Saving Products show features nearly 200booths exhibiting energy-efficient lighting and accessories, LEDdisplays and commercial lighting and solar and wind power products,according to a release about the event.

"In an effort to meet fast-growing global demand for qualitygreen-energy products, we have also launched the China Sourcing Fair:Solar & Energy Saving Products,” Tommy Wong, president of GlobalSources Exhibitions, was quoted in the release. “This new sourcing trade show will help exhibitors and buyers profit from this boomingindustry."

With more than 200 suppliers offering up solar technology to the biginternational buyers and sellers, next year’s consumers are sure to seeeven greater availability of solar wares.