If you like the idea of getting your juice from an eco-friendly, off-the-grid power source, but don’t have the time or resources to install solar panels all over your roof, we might have just the solution for you.
Solar Socket, a project that’s currently raising funds for production on Kickstarter, is a clever USB outlet that fits in your wall, and is powered entirely by a small solar panel you mount outside your house. It’s basically like a baby step toward a full-fledged solar energy setup.
It works pretty much like you’d expect: A small photovoltaic cell, which you install on the exterior of your home, collects sunlight and converts it into usable electricity just like any other solar panel. This energy is then transferred to a small battery located behind the socket, where it’s stored until you need to use it. Plug in any USB-powered device, and it’ll suck up that stored energy without adding even a fraction of a cent to your electricity bill.
Obviously, this isn’t the first solar charging solution that’s ever been invented. You can easily go out and purchase a portable device that does the same thing on Amazon right now for around 50-60 bucks. The technology isn’t new, but even so, Solar Socket is noteworthy for one simple reason: the fact that it’s designed to be a permanent fixture in your house.
Sure, it definitely requires a more complicated installation process than most consumers are used to these days, but once it’s in your wall, it’s there for good. No more repositioning your portable panel catch the rays coming in through your window, no more forgetting which bag you left it in — Solar Socket will be there, in the same place, ready to juice up your gadgets at a moment’s notice.
To bring the device to market, Solar Socket’s creators are hoping to raise $49,900 over the course of the next month. They’re still a long way from achieving that goal, but if you back the project now, you can lock down a socket for anywhere from $89 to $200, depending on what size you opt for. Find out more here.