Using solar power for heating is something we’ve done for thousands of years. The solar shower and solar oven are based on common ideas and principles we’ve been using as a species since time immemorial. On the other hand, we recently invented solar panels in our history, and they’ve been put to interesting use in the Solar Cooler.
Keeps The Cold Side Cold
The idea is manifest in the name. The Solar Cooler uses solar panels to power a refrigeration system inside the cooler to keep food and drinks at a temperature down to 14 F. It’s essentially a portable fridge powered by solar panels, although you can also plug it in to charge it up before you toss it in the car and head for the beach… or the place with no electricity to deliver vaccines, which is what this was designed for.
Roomy And Easy To Move
Admittedly, your old Igloo in the garage has one distinct advantage over the Solar Cooler: Weight. The Solar Cooler weighs 55 pounds before you fill it, although to be fair, it’s incredibly roomy; there’s enough space for sixty cans of soda in the cooler, and of course you don’t need to include any ice or cold packs to chill your stuff. Fortunately, it also comes with a pair of beach wheels for $150 extra, since the alternative is essentially lug this thing across the dune, sherpa style.
Cold, Cold Soda
True, solar panels have been used for cooling in the past, but never quite like this. While there is some question about the environmental value of lugging around a tiny fridge that probably uses dangerous chemicals, there’s also no denying that warm soda on the beach is incredibly annoying. That said, you’d better really hate warm soda: The retail price of the Solar Cooler is currently around $1,200. If that doesn’t faze you, it should be shipping in June.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.