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Mobile Green Energy On-the-Go: Sego Innovations Unveils Foldable Solar Panels

published: 2023-07-11 9:30

American start-up, Sego Innovations, is revolutionizing the green energy sector by introducing a portable solar charger that is easy to carry as a table, yet capable of unfolding itself like a blooming flower. The innovative device promises renewable energy usage anytime, anywhere.

Sego Innovations, founded by a trio of graduates from Brigham Young University, designed a foldable solar panel in collaboration with NASA back in 2013. The joint venture successfully compacted a 52-meter diameter circular solar panel into a 2.7-meter diameter panel, effectively making it transportable to space via a rocket.

Inspired by this idea of saving space, the Sego Innovations team then focused on developing a portable solar panel for applications in travel, adventure, emergency power backup, and off-grid power storage.

This innovative foldable solar panel measures 19 cm by 19 cm, with a thickness of just 2.5 cm when folded. Unfurled, it reveals a 0.24m2 hexagonal SunPower monocrystalline solar panel capable of providing 25 watts of power under optimal sunlight conditions.

The solar panels have been meticulously cut and connected to Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) to ensure a durable design suitable for both travel and outdoor usage. Sego Innovations employed an ETFE coating to protect the solar cells, achieving an IP67 protection rating, and opted for a high-pressure glass fiber laminate substrate for structural support. Weighing only 1.4 kg, the panel might not fit into a pocket but can be easily stowed away in a backpack.

Another noteworthy feature of the Sego Innovations solar panel is the built-in USB-C charging port on its back, allowing for direct charging. Under optimal sunlight conditions, the company estimates that the panel can charge a smartphone in 1–2 hours, a tablet in 3–4 hours, and a 10,000 mAh power bank in 3.5–7 hours.

While Sego Innovations has successfully developed a prototype, the final specifications of the product are yet to be confirmed. The 25W charger currently has an early bird funding price of US$289 on Kickstarter, $106 less than its planned retail price of $395.

In addition to the standard model, Sego Innovations also offers a premium version. The upgraded model features a lighter carbon fiber substrate instead of glass fiber—weighing just 1.1 kg—but at higher starting price tag of $475.

(Image Source: Sego Innovations)

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