Solar bags so far are notoriously expensive. From $1500 for a briefcase, to $300-$400 for a carry-on style bag, to $250 for a beach bag. All of which are fairly ugly. They grasp desperately onto some appeal factor by looking like anything you can pick up at Target, but end up utterly unspectacular except for the sore-thumb solar cells on the sides. Luckily, women - or men exceedingly comfortable with their sexuality - will be able to have their style and solar power too.
Cost competitive for other bags we’ve seen (though still pretty pricy), is the new Solarjo Power Purse. Coming in at $285, it’s about what someone with extra cash would spend on a fancy purse. And this one looks like something you might find at a nicer department store – in fact, it looks really stylish.
The purse is covered in solar cells that can soak up enough sun in two hours to charge a cell phone battery. The PV cells are laminated for protection from scratches, and two batteries held in the lining of the purse hold a full charge that can last for up to a month. A USB port inside the purse can be used for charging most any small device, from phones to cameras, palm pilots to iPods. Basically, someone can just plop it on a window sill at work or some sunny location, wait for a charge, and plug in their doo-dads, all with the purse functioning exactly as a purse should – no obtrusive wires or obnoxiously geeky give-aways.
The purse was designed three years ago by Joe Hynek who recognized just how lame solar accessories can be. It’ll be available by the end of 2008 for people who want to flash their attachment to the green movement with something that won’t clash with their outfit. It definitely has the potential to get picked up by some hip celebrity and then they'll go flying off shelves.
Considering it’ll cost no more than a designer bag already costs, it looks great, and you’ll get free solar power, I think this is a pretty big breakthrough in solar power fashion. Now, we’ll just have to see how well it actually works at collecting energy, and if the price stays at the projected $285 after release.
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