Solar powered cell phones are unlikely to be successful, according to Nokia. The cell phone giant carried out a series of test from June to September last year, with five people located in diverse environments, situated all over the world, carrying around special cell phones which had been made by Nokia. The special phones had been fitted with thin-film silicon solar panels on the back as well as a data logger to report the level of harvested solar energy. The aim of the company’s solar charging project was to find out how simple and viable it would be to charge up a new or old cell phone with solar power alone.
Unfortunately, the results of the experiments were disappointing except for those who lived in a very sunny location near the equator and who were able to stay outdoors during the great majority of daylight hours with the phone in a holder around their neck or clipped to their belt. For the rest, the cell phones were at best capable of harvesting just enough solar energy to remain in standby mode, but with just 10 to 20 minutes of actual talk time. Only after a full day’s exposure to the sun were the phones even capable of managing to give the user a full hour of talk time.
“There’s still some way to go before a workable and care-free solution is achieved,” Nokia admits.