Solar T-shirt

Beat the summer heat with a solar powered shirt

J. den Haan     April 15, 2013     Cool stuff

An Indian scientist has come up with the idea of a shirt with inbuilt solar cells that power fans which would keep the wearer cool on hot days. The shirt could produce around 400 watts of energy from the solar cells, which will vary in size from 2.5 inches to 3 inches.

Santipada GonChaudhury, a photovoltaic system engineering and design specialists, says his “solar summer shirt” would also store enough power to juice up cell phones, tablets and other digital devices. He adds that the research group us trying to develop technology to integrate small solar cells onto the shirt’s fiber or in its pocket.

The shirt will have two layers, the first of which will have two to four small “fans” powered by the solar cells. These fans will be smaller than those found in a computer. Exposing the solar cells to the sun would allow the gadgets to be charged so it is not necessary to wear the shirt all the time.

And how much would this shirt cost? GonChaudhury says if a typical shirt costs around AU$17.55 then the solar powered shirt would cost AU$28. He also predicts the price of solar to keep going down as more researchers keep working on the technology.

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GonChaudhury’s solar shirt would not be the first wearable solar device. Alta Devices has also designed a solar charging mat for the U.S. military that is lightweight, flexible and is meant to be worn by soldiers over their backpacks. Some Iowa State University students also have had the idea for a solar-powered handbag and a rice paddy hat.

There’s a lot of ideas coming out of India on ways to harness the sun’s energy. There’s also a proposal in the country to put a roof over the roads that are equipped with solar panels which is seen as a way to overcome the problem of getting land to install solar arrays.

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