Solar charger that lets you earn points as you use it

Solar Charging Kit
Solar Charging Kit from Changers.com

More and more gadgets are coming that lets you power your devices with solar energy, and now you can even earn points while doing so. A charger from the new German startup called Changers, doesn’t just give you a great power source in the sun, but it also earns you credits that you can use to both compete in green credentials with your friends, and also buy items with.

The charger consists of a solar panel and a battery. It takes about four hours to reach a full charge, and this gives you enough juice to charge an iPhone, twice. It also comes with an array of adapters for devices from the most common manufacturers like Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Sony PSP or Nintendo. Anything that charges over USB will basically work.

The solar kit charges at a rate of 4 watts per hour and can hold up to 16 watts in its battery. So you can charge up the battery during the day and then transfer the stored energy to your cell phone, tablet or other gadgets at night. You can set up a personal page at Changers.com and you can track you solar energy generation, the carbon offset created by the solar electricity, and see how you stack up against friends and neighbors. The conversion is that 2 watt hours of solar electricity equal to 1 gram of carbon emission.

While the solar charging kit will cost you €119.00 ($149), joining the Changers community is free. Changers, which has raised an undisclosed seed investment of “a couple of million dollars” from German solar company Centrotherm Photovoltaics, wants to charge retailers in the future, said Hans Raffauf, head of communications at Changers. This won’t happen until Changers builds up a user base large enough to attract more retailers. The site’s first retailer is Holstee, which sells clothes, bags, coffee makers, sunglasses, ear buds, and other products made from recycled materials. To shop on Holstee, you will have to accumulate a minimum of 100 watts, which gives you a $10 voucher.

It will be interesting to see how this will pan out for Changers, but it sure is a nice twist on how to make more people go green.

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