The sophisticated solar cells also serve as precision chargers for AA batteries. In 2005, PowerFilm Solar launched the PowerFilm Foldable Solar Charger that can recharge up to four AA batteries at a time, to optimum level, without inducing damage associated with overcharging. "Unlike other solar chargers for AA batteries, this new charging circuit does not get confused from variations in current typically seen from a solar panel," noted Frank Jeffrey, PowerFilm's chairman.
The technology, comprised of a rugged fabric that houses the lightweight, flexible photovoltaic solar panels, is being marketed in partnership with Johnson Outdoors, Inc., a recreational product manufacturer. In addition to this commercial version, PowerFilm Solar has introduced a military version that is ideal for soldiers in the field, especially in remote locations.
Also in 2005, PowerFilm Solar teamed up with the U.S. Army to supply PowerFilm-equipped tents. The largest tent ordered by the Army is a canopy that can provide up to 2 kilowatts of power. "This is enough energy to power up to 66 laptop computers or 260 cell or satellite phones [when the sun is shining]," said Steve Martens, the president of PowerFilm. "A second, smaller model can produce enough power for 5 laptop computers or 24 cell or satellite phones," he added. The power generated by each tent is stored in a bank of batteries.
The photovoltaic solar tents help meet the Army's growing demand for rapid-response rates and portable, remote power, and eliminate the need for noisy generators, spare batteries, and excessive fuel storage.
PowerFilm® and Soltronix HR-1® are registered trademarks of PowerFilm, Inc.