Want to charge your cell phone with free energy from the sun – and get paid for it?
Berlin-based startup Changers’ new portable solar charging system will not only power your electronic gadgets, but will also earn you credits to redeem at select retailers and promote your energy savings to friends through social media.
Each Changers Starter Kit, priced at $149, contains a solar battery and solar panel, which can generate up to 4 watts of electricity per hour – enough to charge the battery in four hours, or enough power to recharge an iPhone twice.
To get started, simply attach the solar panel to any window or even sunny surface, using the suction cups provided. Plug in your smartphone or tablet to the battery, which will recharge your device as fast as a conventional charger.
The battery communicates with Changers.com, uploading the amount of energy you’ve produced and carbon pollution you’ve prevented. By logging into the Changers’ website, you’ll be able to see these statistics and compare them with others in the Changers online community. You’ll even be able to post your energy and carbon savings to Facebook and Twitter to motivate your friends and family to take action.
The amount of energy you generate is automatically converted to Changers Credits, which can then be spent at eco-minded retail partners on the online Changers Marketplace.
“Each of us takes it for granted that we have limitless energy on tap, and as a result we have become completely disconnected from how our actual energy usage impacts the planet,” said Markus Schulz, co-founder and CEO of Changers, in a statement. “The Changers System aims to shift our attitudes and behavior by enabling each of us to produce our own energy, measure and visualize the real effect of this simple act, and then share our contributions with others. We think that if you can unite people in the pursuit of renewable energy — even small amounts of energy — it will lead to a dramatic transformation in how we source and consume energy.”
Changers, which announced its new charging system in October, started shipping starter kits to customers in late November. On Monday, the startup revealed its first milestone, saying its charging systems have prevented 4.4 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions so far.