Solar Samsung: use the sun to power your phone

A mobile phone case can protect your phone from damage and jazz it up, but it now has an additional function

(Pic: BusinessWire)

(Pic: BusinessWire)

Samsung is introducing phone cases with integrated solar panels for its Galaxy S4.

It says these can double the phone’s battery life, and protect it from any knocks or scrapes. The solar panel is built into the back of the phone case, weighing around 104.5g.

US-based solar manufacturer Ascent Solar Technologies has developed the EnerPlex Surfr solar and battery case, which will be available for sale in the US in mid-November costing $89.99.

Although the company does not say exactly how long it would take to charge the battery using the solar panel alone, the phone can also be charged by a USB port.

Ascent Solar’s President and CEO, Victor Lee, said: “With 40 million S4’s already sold since the product’s debut, we feel the Surfr Solar & Battery case is the perfect complementary accessory for this wildly successful smartphone, opening the EnerPlex brand to an even wider audience of smartphone users.”

Ascent Solar also provides a solar power charging mobile case for the iPhone where one hour of sunlight provides 10 minutes of talk time and 15 hours of sunlight provides three hours of talk time.

Energy and natural resource consumption linked to smartphones is an increasing concern for environmental groups.

In April the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that soaring demand for phones was causing metal mining and production facilities to expand at an unsustainable rate, driving up greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.

And in August a report suggested the digital economy uses a tenth of the world’s electricity, and claimed a single iPhone can consume more energy than a refrigerator due to the substantial data usage of a typical smartphone owner.

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