Not long ago, I presented some cell phones that, among their many functions, also incorporated a small solar panel, for flexible charging and green purposes. Well, those green purposes prove themselves being not so green, if we take into account recent studies.
Sony Ericsson says, through a study they conducted for Project Green Heart, that “As long as there is no breakthrough in manufacturing or efficiency it is not beneficial to put a solar cell on a phone from environmental point of view.”
Solar panels are evolving every day – we know that. As long as people invent ways of being independent to the grid, it’s ok, but after a while, they have to be efficient, too. So, for the moment, solar cells in cell phones are like electric cars: they’re nice, the concept is beautifully presented, but figures say they’re not efficient and practical.
The only reason I’d buy a solar powered cell phone nowadays, though, would be that it would charge my battery when I’m on a long trip in some deserted place (I like to do such trips). Otherwise, as Sony Ericsson states, it’s useless. So little energy is stored into the battery that you’d have to use the phone ten years or so to make those solar panels be “green” – but I guess that after ten years that phone would be recycled or dumped somewhere in an old rotten gadgets plastic (or paper) bag.