Nokero International, based in Denver and Hong Kong is a cell phone accessory manufacturing company on a mission. Considering, “500 million of the world’s cell phone owners have no access to electricity,” this company has developed and manufactured affordable solar powered cell phone chargers. The devices can charge a typical cell phone in about three hours, but does not have the capability to charge a smartphone. The idea behind this product is to help the millions of people living in third world countries that have cell phones, but often have to travel for miles to charge them. The solar powered cell phone charger is affordable (offered about around $29) because it uses no battery. Nokero also offers a more powerful solar powered charger for around $49.
Solar power is still making the push towards becoming mainstream. The massive solar thermal power company, BrightSource Energy is working towards building power plants that generate solar power even after the sun goes down. The technology used in BrightSource Energy’s power stations utilizes enormous water-filled boilers that generate power through steam. BrightSource plans on implementing a salt system that will store heat and continue to produce power throughout the night. This new method of generating solar power will allow utilities to integrate renewable energy into their grids efficiently and affordably. By allowing solar power stations to operate 24 hours a day, utilities can be more flexible in their rates, making solar power more mainstream for residents and businesses.
In its continued push to make the US the leading solar energy market, the US Department of Energy announced it would invest $50 million towards US manufactured solar panels. Through the SUNPATH program, the funds will be doled out over two years in order to beef up solar panel production and reduce the cost of manufacturing solar products. The massive investment is in conjunction with the SUNSHOT program, which is aiming to lower the cost of solar energy-produced electricity to around .6/killowat-hour.