Suntrica Oy was one of the companies we visited during the Finnfacts Cleantech Blogger Tour 09, and who handed us out an actual product for testing, the SolarStrap. The tech savvy person has usually a few gadgets on him – cellphone, smart phone, PDA, MP3 Player, GPS, etc. – and at some point might run into the problem of an empty battery. That’s no problem if an outlet & charger are at hand, but what if on the go and none of these are available?
Then the SolarStrap comes to the rescue. Weight is a mere 77 g including the cable + gadget jack, and thanks to its velcro fastener it can be attached to backpack and carrier bag straps with ease. I carry mine on the outside of the backpack, where it stores the sun’s energy in the lightweight battery. When you run out of power for your gadget, simply put the connecting cable to the strap and put the jack into the empty gadget, and electricity comes your way again.
While the SolarStrap is a very environmentally friendly energy source for the Western gadget user, for many people in the Southern Hemisphere it means the easiest source of energy for their cellphones. Cellphones are changing the world and Suntrica aims at providing the green electricity for users which have no outlet close by. This is a huge emerging market, and if Suntrica’s plan of cooperating with operators in these countries works out, they will have to increase production tremendously. For these plans Suntrica is looking for additional funding in the range of EUR 2 – 3m, which should help them accelerate their growth, and add more options to the four product lines which they currently offer.
Being out backpacking a lot, I really like the Suntrica SolarStrap for the additional power it gives me when on the trail. Unlike their competitors, like Solio, the SolarStrap is lightweight, can be attached to my backpack and the battery can load my phone fully. I tried if the SolarStrap also would work with artificial light as I sit nowadays more insight, and it worked just fine and loaded my phone completely. Suntrica’s idea of providing cheap and green electricity to the millions of cellphone users in less developed countries does make much business sense – these countries are blessed with much sunshine but spotty grids – while for the Western user it gives him the possibility to pursue his green values and load his gadgets in remote locations.