Solar-powered laptop bag charges up road warriors

The Generator bag boasts a solar panel that produces up to 14.7 watts of power

Voltaic Systems is getting ready to release a solar-powered laptop bag that is designed to charge the computer carried inside it.

The company sells a line of solar-powered bags that carry and charge small devices like cell phones, MP3 players and hand-held devices. The Generator is the first of their solar-powered bags to carry and charge a laptop.

"It could be for people on a road trip or for traveling business people," said Julie Wineinger, a spokeswoman for the New York City-based company. "This is great for people traveling who don't have access to a place to plug in and charge up."

The Generator, due to be released at the end of April, has a battery pack and a single solar panel that covers one whole side of the bag and produces up to 14.7 watts of power, according to Mark Watkins, another spokesman for Voltaic.

Set to have a suggested price of US$599, the bag needs about eight to 10 hours of direct sunlight to give a typical laptop a full charge. When it is charged, a user can plug her laptop into the lithium ion battery inside the bag and charge her laptop with it - either while it's being carried around inside the bag or while it's outside the bag being used.

The Generator also is designed with a wall plug-in so the bag can be charged while it's sitting in an office or while it's being carried down the street or through an outdoor job site.

"Road warriors, field workers, scientists - people going off the grid need that combination of being able to charge up in the sun and by plugging it into the wall," added Watkins. "It gives you plenty of ways to keep it charged when you need it."

The bag, built out of fabrics made from recycled soda bottles, is designed to be waterproof and UV resistant.

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