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Solar panel phone charger for bar terraces invented in Valencia
By thinkSPAIN Team Sat, May 9, 2015
A VALENCIA-BASED energy firm has invented a 20-watt solar panel which would allow customers to charge up their mobile phones from outside seating areas of pavement cafés.
Textil Energy says the panel can be fitted to the fabric of parasols on bar patios, and as it is made of flexible material, can adapt to different shapes and sizes.
An electrical junction box is then attached to the parasol poles, with three USB ports in it for customers to charge their phones, tablets and laptops at no cost to the bar owners.
It has been designed in such a way as not to look an eyesore when attached to the parasol.
Textil Energy says the panel has been created to fill a gap in the market - batteries of modern-day technological appliances do not last long, and if a customer is unable to continue using his or her phone or laptop, he or she will probably go home to charge it unless the bar allows its plug sockets to be used - meaning the bar loses trade on drinks and food which would otherwise be consumed if the customer stayed on the premises.
The panels may also be useful for private individuals if they need charging devices in the open air, since all they need is a parasol.
So far, the firm has contacted the main beer manufacturers and hotel chains, as well as bars and restaurants on Valencia's Malvarrosa beach, and say most of them have shown interest.
A 'small investment' is required in the beginning, but bars will earn this back very quickly since the panels come with a 15-year guarantee and customers are more likely to go to a restaurant or café where they can charge their phone or laptop free of charge than one where they cannot, and have to go home to charge it when the battery goes flat.
The company, which is based in a unit on campus at Valencia Polytechnic, says it hopes to be able to convince public transport authorities to agree to put the panels up.
This way, when passengers are waiting for a bus, train or tram, they can use that time to charge their phones.
Textil Energy has a dedicated research department and is also developing solar-panel-based gadgets which could be used in areas hit by natural disasters or in rural parts of developing countries where there is no electricity connection.
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