Panasonic creates a portable power device for places without electricity

Normally when you can’t charge your cell phone, it’s because you forgot your charger or other travelers already claimed all the outlets at the airport. But 18 percent of the world’s population has no or unreliable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency.

In an effort to help give people more access, Panasonic developed the eneloop solar storage, a power-storage system that powers LED lights and small devices like cell phones in areas — such as regions of Asia and Africa — where electricity is scarce. These are exactly the places Panasonic plans to ship the device, starting in November, with Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, and other countries on the list of countries Panasonic expects to target. Right now, many households in these regions use kerosene lamps for nighttime lighting, which are expensive to use (often taking up 30 percent of a family’s income), hazardous, and a source of dangerous fumes.

When it’s sunny, solar cells generate power, which is then stored in a nickel-metal hydride battery unit. Families can then draw on the power at night for lighting or other electronics, like TVs or heaters. It should take the battery five hours to go from depleted to fully charged on a sunny day. The eneloop also has a USB slot for phones. The dust- and rain-resistant device also has two types of LED lamps, a 1.5-watt bulb, and a 5-watt straight tube, and is expected to last five years.

To get the device into the hands of people who need it, the eneloop will be marketed through existing sales dealers, as well as NPOs and NGOs that specialize in bringing electricity to those living without it. It’s targeted not only at homes but at hospitals, schools, and stores as well.

Panasonic eneloop solar storage

2 thoughts on “Panasonic creates a portable power device for places without electricity

  1. I agree with the fact that this is a great way to provide energy for developing countries, however, it will be costly. There are both advantages and disadvantages to using these devices to provide electricity for developing countries. One advantage is that using LED lights and solar panels as sources of electricity is more environmental-friendly than using natural gas. Solar panels, which requires sunlight to generate electricity, would work quite well in countries such as Ethiopia, Thailand, and Indonesia, where the climate is hot and sunlight is plentiful. Also, electricity is something that some developing countries need but don’t have, so compared to the apps that can improve these countries’ economy, electricity would be more useful and essential.
    Disadvantages would be, as mentioned by the previous post, the cost of these LED lights and solar panels, which are quite expensive to install. Another point is that if more people in the world have access to electricity, more energy would be consumed which leads to more environmental problems because even though solar panels are more environmental-friendly than other sources of energy, there is still an increase in the consumption of electricity. Overall, this is not a bad idea to help developing countries improve their living conditions.

  2. This is a great opportunity to get power to those who need it. The main question I have about this device is how cheap are these to build. I know that solar panels are still pretty expensive to buy and still are not as efficient as they could be. I think it is good that Panasonic is marketing these to NGOs and NPOs because these devices are potentially extremely useful to areas that do not have access to electricity.

    I believe that if these poor areas get access to electricity, it gives them a great opportunity to grow their economy. A growth in the economy of poor areas would not only have a great impact on the area itself but also the world. Economic growth would encourage more investment from outside countries. Investments could industrialize many of the poorer regions and have a great affect on the world economy.

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