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Going Solar

Sustainable energy has always interested me, as a kid I remember flying to England to see my family looking out of the window, and seeing a giant wind farm in the middle of the ocean. At the time I had no idea what those giant feats of engineering really did, but their significance was undeniable. My next encounter with solar energy was in New England, when I went on a snowboarding trip to a place called Bolton Valley, Vermont. The ski resort's power was being supplemented by a few giant windmills perched at the summit of the mountain, and this is what sparked my interest in sustainable energy.

When I first started seeing solar energy it was an emerging technology draped in high costs and a lot of uncertainty. In the space of time between my first sightings of solar energy and now is roughly a decade and in that time period many governments, businesses, and individuals have invested heavily into this technology. What that has done is made sustainable energy, especially solar, more accessible and affordable for the consumer. As solar energy became more affordable it grew in its efficiency too. In the beginning, solar panels were just awkwardly placed on roofs, but before you would even start that process energy company put up as much resistance for you as they could, creating red tape making it extremely costly to buy into the grid.

Seeing all of this take place over the course of high school and college threw me off my plan of starting a business in solar technology. Big energy companies operate mainly in a business to business level especially in the solar field, but I love working with people and wanted a product that would help make a person's life easier. This is what every entrepreneur or business owner sets out to do initially, solve a problem, but how is one to know the answer if they haven't been faced with the problem themselves? 

Last year I was taking a weekend trip to a popular state park called Watkins Glenn with my girlfriend and dog. After our three hour drive there, the sun was setting while we pulled up to our rustic cabin inside of the state park. With plans of hiking the next morning and exploring the area as much as possible, we were more than eager to unpack, get settled into the cabin, and call it a night. So, I'm blowing up our air mattress with an A/C adapter and it short circuits the fuse, and to make a long story short - there goes the ability to charge up our phones over the duration of our trip because there are no power outlets around.

When you're out there enjoying the outdoors and taking advantage of the opportunities that come along with adventure, sometimes having a dead phone is a good problem to have. Many of us use our phones as a camera to share some photos with friends and family in the future, so that's when having a charged phone does become beneficial. In my situation, while we were at Watkins Glenn, I ended up purchasing an external battery from a store, and while it worked great - they too require an outlet or electric source to charge them. So, if you're in the outdoors long enough without an immediate power source, the dead phone scenario seems to perpetuate itself.

While at the time of my stay at Watkins Glenn "dead phone" became a thorn in my side, but it was the "problem" that I decided to solve. With countless hours of research into solar technology, I found out that solar had become so efficient it was now used for mobile devices, just like the power banks I had bought in Watkins Glenn. I thought "Wow, you know if only I had one of those at the time!" and there it was my "answer"....Wrong.

Just like that old saying "if it's too good to be true, it probably is" sums up the climate of portable solar technology, a lot of brands have come and go because many manufacturers have tapped into that "affordability" factor so deeply that most products in portable solar tech became very cheaply built. This was unfortunate at first, but all of that research was not for nothing because one day a manufacturer who had heard I was asking around in the industry, reached out. I found out that their ethos matched mine, from a business standpoint we both agreed on quality before quantity and a sustainable purpose over overpriced junk. 

This unexpected partnership brought the production of our first Adrenalist Solar Power bank, one of few on the market that is first and foremost a Lithium Ion Battery, with 90% energy efficiency. Each unit has a set of solar cells that top up the battery while you're out there on the trails or relaxing at the beach. When I tested these out myself, I needed to make sure that they were functional: These are the questions I'd look to for before committing to my first solar charger purchase, and after using them extensively I found they passed with flying colors. In my next blog post, I will provide more in-depth test results of our products in outdoor environments.

 

Here's a preview of the next blog post, coming this Friday!

Preliminary Tests:

  1. Can they resist water?
  2. And are they effective?

Example 1:

After crossing a creek in my local nature preserve, I tested the power banks water resistance by dropping it in the creek then pulling it out to see if it continued functions.

After removing the Solar Bank from the stream, I cycled it through its different functions, and as you can see below we have power in the battery, and the Green light is on indicating that the solar cells are currently charging the Power Bank!

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