Sep 11, 2013
One of the biggest trends within KickStarter over the years has been the number of projects that have a focus on sustainability and green technology. With most companies cutting corners by using mass produced, and typically environmentally unfriendly, materials it comes as no surprised that these small, ambitious startups are focused on a bigger picture. This week’s Spotlight focuses in on one such project that aims to address the ongoing power consumption of mobile phones and their affect on our planet. Modeled to resemble the leaves of the famous ginkgo tree the appropriately named Ginkgo Solar Tree sees solar power charging as a small step toward fossil fuel independence. Containing an internal battery that charges during the day this attractive piece of tech ensures that a free and clean source of power is always available. I personally find the Ginkgo Solar Tree to be one of the best looking KickStarter Spotlights we have ever done, with it’s adjustable solar panel leaves and it’s bamboo stem.
As I mentioned in the opening, The Ginkgo Solar Tree is made from sustainable materials including bamboo and the high tech, environmentally friendly material reSound. On the reSound stand is a ledge to display charging devices and five LED’s that show both percentage of charge and if the large panels are supplying power to the battery. Speaking of those panels, they are laid flat on the top of three large ginkgo-leaf shaped platters. This wide surface area allows for a maximum absorption of solar energy, and the fact that they swivel on top of each other allow for easier shipping which further reduces the product’s carbon footprint.
One question about the Ginkgo Solar Tree is the capacity of the battery is only enough to give two full charges in one go, and because it takes a full 9-10 hours to completely recharge the lithium battery it seems to me that a rainy day or two could spell trouble for those hoping to become dependent on this device. Another concern is the price. The Ginkgo Solar Tree can be had for about Â£65 which comes out to about $100 stateside. The final proposed retail price is somewhere in the $150 range which will definitely be enough to scare consumers away. All in all though I am very impressed by the Ginkgo Solar Tree, and have all the confidence that it will find its target audience and become a successful product.