Remainder of story with video link and other technical links.Almost a year after the U.S. government first certified Alta Devices as having created the highest efficiency solar panel in existence yet, the innovative California clean energy startup on Friday unveiled its first product: A flexible, extremely lightweight and fully portable solar charging mat designed for the U.S. military, which also achieves the highest efficiency of any such solar portable charging device used by the armed forces.
Alta Devices’ new solar charging mats (PDF) come in two sizes with differing energy outputs — 10-watt and 20-watt, both which offer world record energy efficiency of 24.1 percent, an increase even from when Alta was first certified by the U.S. government in February 2012.
They’re only prototype references devices for now, though devices for mass consumptions should be coming out soon, Alta told TPM.
Already, Alta has sold a “handful” of the reference devices to the military, said Rich Kapusta, Alta Devices’ vice president of marketing, in an interview with TPM.
“What a soldier wants to be able to do is drape one of these things over their backpack,” Kapusta explained. “That way, they don’t have to stop and camp out and lay out huge solar blankets like they had to do in the past. They can literally clip these things to their backpacks and keep on marching.”
Seems like a good item to have and only will get better down the road.