Solar clothing promises to be the next big hit both in the fashion industry and in the area of new and innovative solar technologies. It's an excellent way to utilize the sun's energy while looking great and powering up your favorite solar gadgets!
Solar clothing could be the next up and coming solar technology available to consumers if clothing designers and scientists continue working together to create clothing that people will want to actually wear.
It's a truly ingenious idea for taking advantage of the sun's energy and for taking steps to make the world more environmentally conscious.
What would be the purpose of wearing clothes that can soak up the sun's energy? The concept is that you could power a cell phone or other small gadget while wearing the item of clothing.
Thin film solar panels or fibers are sewn in or incorporated into the very weave of the fabric the item of clothing is made from so that when the sun hits the panels or fibers, energy is captured and utilized to power something else you have on your person.
These are just some of the examples of clothing outfitted with thin film solar panels that have been presented by designers as possibilities for future clothing lines.
Many of them are still just ideas and haven't actually reached the market yet!
The innovative ideas behind this idea of clothing with built-in solar panels are amazingly creative! There are some challenges presented by the concept however.
Health experts tell us we shouldn't spend more time in the sun than absolutely necessary, but many of the solar clothes have to spend at least 2-3 hours in the sun to have enough power available to be effective.
Is it worth getting wrinkles and risking skin cancer for your iPod?
Another challenge facing this idea of clothes with sewn-in solar panels is that most of the clothing items that have been created so far are, well ... just plain ugly.
Unless you're into shiny black plates on your clothes, most of the general population wouldn't want to wear them! :-)
It's also very difficult to wash these clothes properly without damaging the solar panels or the connections needed to power a small appliance or handheld device.
For this reason, solar clothes need to be designed so that the panels can be easily removed so that you can do your laundry without a major production.
What if the clothing item had the solar panel built in to the back? Your back would have to face the sun in order for the panel to soak up any energy, limiting your freedom of movement.
There are some environmentalists who say that green clothing designers are actually wasting resources and money by designing ugly solar clothes that no one will be able to afford and that no one wants to wear!
Price is definitely a huge challenge facing the solar clothing designers. One jacket that is on the market costs $750. What if you spilled food on it??!! Solar t-shirts can cost $35 to $40.
You have to admit though, the idea of wearing stylish clothing that can power your MP3 player while you wear one and listen to the other is pretty cool, isn't it?!
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