From void into vision, from vision to mind, from mind into speech, from speech to the tribe, from the tribe into din.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Cost of Personal Solar Power

 I bought a solar hand crank radio flashlight with USB mini plug DC output about 5 years ago.  It cost around $30.  It provided in one package what we are supposed to have on hand in case of emergency or disaster - light,  cell phone or radio, extra batteries - in one package.  This is also entry level electricity for the over 1 billion people around the world who don't have access now.

A month or two ago, I bought a second solar hand crank flashlight.  No radio, no DC output.  It cost around $4.

Before the invasion of Afghanistan, NATO forces distributed solar/dynamo AM/FM/SW radios to the civilian population. After the invasion, they gave away more.  The NATO radios charge only the internal hardwired battery. A single additional circuit would allow them to charge external batteries. If the solar/dynamo could charge batteries, then you could use batteries in rotation, charging one set while using another. The solar/dynamo would be a source of electricity day or night, by sunlight or muscle power, at least for the lifetime of the batteries, crank, and PV panel. 

Combine this with bicycle generators that charge batteries in the course of daily riding and you have the possibility of providing survival level power to everyone in the world now.

In 2016, the world reportedly spent $4.61 billion per day on the military or $1686 billion, equivalent to 2.2% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and $227 per person. 


Solar electricity now costs from $4 to $30 AA survival or emergency and disaster power.

The image I have is of a

solar swadeshi, hand-made electricity.
Instead of turning the handle
of the charkha spinning wheel
making thread 
for khadi cloth
an hour a day as Gandhi did,
turning the crank of a dynamo 
or riding a bicycle a half hour a day,
the direct production of survival power
for yourself, your family, and your community,
swadeshi, local production.