Solar Umbrella: Charges Your Gadgets While You're Having Fun in the Sun

Imagine all those great summer afternoons or weekends that are spent in your garden relaxing, wouldn't it be great if they'd find a way to harness all that solar energy? The trouble with solar panels is that they require a large surface to generate power. Also, they are frightfully expensive. Now, it will be possible to use umbrellas to harness solar power to charge all of your gadgets.

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The SkyShades Powerbrella will make all of those suntanning hours productive in a new way. While the umbrella is open, it will harness power from the sun thanks to its solar panels. There are handy power outlets in its base to serve your gadgets with a well-deserved shot of juice. Actually, the canopy of the Powerbrella isn't just designed for your garden. It's meant to be used in cafes, restaurants, and hotel swimming pools. The canopy is covered with Konarka Power Plastic, a lightweight, flexible photovoltaic film.

If you might think this is just a concept, think again. The concept was proven to be viable in 2008 and it will be available this July. SkyShades plans on integrating the Power Plastic into different types of shades, such as parking structures, car washes, stadiums, amphitheaters, and retro-fitted roofs, as use as a direct source of power of reselling it to the power grid. This is one interesting product. We wonder how it compares to actual solar panels. However, the usual solar panels that are normally fitted on roofs, are pretty expensive. This Powerbrella isn't supposed to be that expensive. Then again, information is scarce for a product that supposed to be launched in a few weeks. From our research, it seems that the Power Plastic could be easily used on a bunch of different things, from portable umbrellas to bags and such. [via DVice, images by SkyShades]

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