The Solar-in-a-Box kit is a turn-key solution which includes all of the necessary components of a solar-powered computer lab. This kit is specifically designed for educational purposes in the developing world, though it is suitable for practically any context. The Solar-in-a-Box product is self-contained and provides a sustainable computer lab for areas without access to power. The solution is made up of three main components: the solar panels and electronics, the power-efficient laptops, and the container which converts into a lab table. These three components are shipped together as one solution, meaning no further equipment is necessary for the installation of a functional and sustainable computer lab.
The solar panels used are small enough to fit in our shipping container, yet deliver enough power to simultaneously run the entire workstation and charge the laptops’ batteries. The panels are light and easy to install. With the included mounting racks the panels can be secured on most roofs, whether on concrete or sheet-metal.
The laptops included in the kit are Intel Classmates, which are specifically designed for educational environments but feature a powerful operating system which makes them versatile machines. The laptops require very little electricity yet deliver a substantial amount of processing power, making them suitable for solar deployments. Included on the Classmates is a suite of educational software which allows teachers to develop more consistent curricula and corresponding activities.
The Solar-Computer-Lab-in-a-Box box itself is more than just a shipping container: it converts into the lab table. This is the key innovation in the product which further increases the sustainability of the kit. The container can be easily modified into a sturdy table to which the laptops can be safely secured. This setup not only decreases the probability of stolen equipment but also protects the laptops from damage.
Other systems run off of heavy, hazardous lead-acid batteries which also require regular maintenance. The Solar-in-a-Box kit uses the lithium-ion batteries within the laptops as the only source of storage. There is no compromise in usage time, though, due to the power-frugal laptops which are charged while they are simultaneously in use. By the time that the solar panels are no longer producing energy, the laptops are charged sufficiently to run for many more hours.