by Nick Upton
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Solio Universal Solar Charger

In just 1 hour the amount of energy that falls upon the earth from the sun equals the amount used by the world's population in a whole year, so why not make use of some of that?

Whilst browsing the internet I came across the Solio Universal Solar Charger a device that allows travellers to benefit from free electricity for all their gadgets: mobile phone, iPod or MP3 Player, GPS, Digital Camera, Laptop etc. As someone who is concerned about the environment, the idea of a solar charger is quite appealing as is the idea of carrying around just one charger for all my electrical devices. Solio's Interchangeable Tip System allows for connection to almost any portable electrical appliance and does away with messy leads, in fact there is no need to take any of the array of chargers that would normally be needed for all your devices, leaving valuable space for other items. There is even an electrical socket adaptor for those days when the sun remains hidden.

The charger is available in black, white, pink and silver and when it is folded up, it fits very nicely into the palm of ones hand; about the same size as a mobile phone. The Solio works by by absorbing the sun's energy through three solar panels and can be propped up easily to point towards the strongest sunlight.

The Solio Charger takes about 3 hours to fully charge in bright sunlight and this will recharge a mobile phone twice.

This gadget is a great way for birders to cut down their carbon footprint and save on money for batteries at the same time, and with such strong sunshine in Thailand there is plenty of opportunity to benefit from free electricity every day.

The Solio Charger only weighs 156 grams in the hand, although the whole pack, including tips and wall adaptor weighs in at almost 1 kilogram.

The only thing that does not come supplied with the charger is a carrying case, although it is a rather robust piece of kit. However, the good news for fans of recycling is that a carrying case made from recycled Columbian truck tyres is available to protect it from falls onto hard surfaces; this may be an advisable addition to protect the solar panels: Tread Solio Case.

Further good news is that the price of the Solio charger has recently been reduced by £10 and is now available for less than £50.

Finally, the production of the Solio Universal Solar Charger has had its carbon emissions offset. The Solio Charger seems like a gadget that could have been designed for travellers in Thailand.

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Useful Links:

Carbon Footprint Calculator

Carbon Offsetting

Portable Solar Panels

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