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Your 27-Second Green: A Solar Charger You'll Actually Use
A few years ago, I bought myself a sleek little desk lamp with a solar panel built into its base. I thrilled at the thought of harnessing the sun to power late nights at my desk—both lowering my electricity bill and lessening my drain on the planet. But my eco-honeymoon was short-lived: My desk isn’t positioned near the slim window in my home office, meaning to fully charge that little lamp I had to move it back and forth between the desk and windowsill each morning and night. It’s no surprise that my green dream had been abandoned within the week, that lamp left to gather dust (and induce guilt) on the desk.
So when I first heard about the Solar Monkey Adventure, I had my doubts: After thirty-plus years of plugging in, could I train myself to sometimes rely on the sun? And could solar ever feel more convenient than electricity?
It took one long weekend at the beach to convince me that the answer is yes. The Solar Monkey Adventure is two slim solar panels that charge mobile devices like cell phones and iPads. The brilliance of the new gadget isn’t that setting it on your windowsill lets you charge your phone at home—though you can do that—it’s that tucking the lightweight device into your suitcase guarantees you can get a charge on the go, whether you’re hiking mountains (a Velcro strap securely attaches it to backpacks) or, like me, lounging near the water’s edge, fully charged cell phone happily in hand.