Why aren’t solar-powered laptops a popular idea?

Victor Mukandatsama Avatar

We’ve all noticed how ZESA continues to face challenges with power delivery and takes drastic measures to try and manage the power situation.

The token system fails regularly and blackout notices for the city of Harare like the one in yesterday’s Herald newspaper or the midnight blackout experienced for the southern suburbs in Harare are now accepted as part of a normal Zimbo experience.

Econet Solar has made attempts at selling various solar lighting wares imported from China and every city is now full of various batteries, inverters, energy conserving lighting solutions and solar dependent paraphernalia that will take care of your basic electricals.

My selfish question, (as I am not worried about all other gadgets if I have my laptop fully charged) is why no one is importing or making solar-powered laptops in Zimbabwe or regionally. Why is Astro Mobile, which is “making” some fancy notebooks and planning on setting up a factory not considering bringing in solar laptops? Why isn’t the idea popular?

That question is usually countered by a run through the challenges of a solar powered laptop like the repairs and maintenance, the weight, and spares. However, our power challenge isn’t seasonal. Shouldn’t we be exploring alternatives like solar laptops and working with design teams to help figure out how they can be improved for our use?

In countries like Kenya, Samsung experimented with solar laptops in 2011 when it released the NC215S Netbook, but the project seems to have been abandoned. Earlier, it had made the Samsung Guru E1107 as probably the first solar-powered cellphone.

Alternate energy advocates site, Green Optimistic, has the SOL Laptop as the lead product in that area. A quick search on the internet doesn’t return a lot of options suggesting that this is not as popular an idea as I thought it would be. Instead, solar laptop chargers are more prominent and can be purchased almost everywhere.

At MWC 2015, Sunpartner Tech and Kyocera unveiled the Torque solar-powered prototype that embeds solar cells on the touch screen to power up the phone. An interesting idea is the Solar Nano Smartphone Case developed by San Francisco startup. It is again lined with solar cells that pump your battery continuously.

Maybe its still inconceivable, or maybe the world isn’t ready to call a solar paneled device well designed. But If you are in an environment where power is such a challenge, that solar powered laptop might not be such a bad idea after all.

image credit: alphr.com


  1. Allaz

    The Samsung solar netbook was launched in Zim years ago. But it was expensive and it was kak! Solar doesn’t work on laptops and phones – you rather have the panel separate with its own battery. But a phone/laptop/tablet with a solar panel strapped to it doesn’t work yet. Its not that the world isn’t ready – its the solar tech that isn’t ready to be stuck directly onto the device. Charging takes too long – you need to actually USE the device rather than leave it for 6 hours sitting in the sun. The separate chargers work, but panels on the device – no.

  2. Rangarirai

    Well said!!!

  3. Chris Hanyane

    Could be coz laptop batteries last for more than 2 hours, which is window that is most power companies restore power (ZESA being the exception). However road worriers might find them attractive, but then most expect to dock at a place with power most of the time

  4. purple

    I would prefer a separate charger which I can put in the sun and then connect it when i need power. I would like to upgrade to a new laptop and use it with that charger. An integrated solar panel is a bad idea….. Anyway why would i want to risk sunburn?

    1. maBlanco

      asi waka bleecha?

  5. macd chip

    Why worry about solar energy and Astro which is not reliable when Maxwell Sangulani’s Saith Technology can multiply and gives unlimited power?

    1. Update

      Agreed Macd
      Where is Saith Technologies update??? Techzim

      1. Saith

        New video from Saith technologies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipAGQ6LIV0s

        1. macd chip

          Victor Blue Prints from God Mukandatsama

    2. Garikai


  6. justin

    Why is Victor searching the web for solar products when he “opened our eyes to miracle Saith”?
    No need for solar, wind energy when we have miracle energy with blue prints straight from God!

  7. justin

    Techzim, Victor should not do energy articles. He is tainted by the Saith miracle energy debacle.

  8. admire

    its a really bad idea its those solar powered laptops are expensive. in a world wer you can buy a laptop, solar panel, battery and invetor all for $500 or less its non starter

    1. macd chip

      All you need to buy is laptop and a battery from Saith Technology. These batteries are so efficient that you only charge them once and you can use them until your laptop run out of life.

      Its a visionary new battery technology centred on laws not from physics. You will be amazed how much hussle you will serve for yourself.

      For more details ask Victor Blueprints from God Mukandatsama!

  9. Emc2

    why all the backlash against victor, he reported a tech event by a company called saith technologies. ko hanti ndiri basa ravo

    1. macd chip

      Harisi basa rake kuve biased when reporting. He needs to report facts not illusions.
      He needs to have ask what, why and when.
      Like said before, if we want sensational stories and gossip we go to h-metro and iharare.

  10. Ziso

    Tell us more about Meikles group new product http://www.mycash.co.zw

    1. zimchild

      MyCash hasn’t paid victor yet that is why he has not talked about it, plus they might be a conflict of interest with his other bosses net cash.

  11. macd chip
  12. Lordoruchumaru

    They are but expnsive

  13. Ray

    Who likes to sit and work in sun? I’d personally prefer a detatchable panel I can place outside through the window.

  14. Ray

    Who likes to sit and work in sun? I’d personally prefer a detachable panel I can place outside through the window.

  15. SoTypME

    I dont think my laptop battery would forgive me if time and again I heat it by placing it directly in the sun. I’d rather have a solar powered charger instead

  16. Dwayne Williams

    How often do you work in the sun? And if it’s charged when not in use you are pretty much exposing your laptop to theft, sunny areas are in the open or near windows/doors.

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