How to charge your PC with solar power

Charge your notebook with solar energy using the £400 NRG Dock

Going green is supposed to be a hot topic at CES 2008. We've seen various offerings for charging your mobile and other portable gadgets using non-traditional methods.

One of the more interesting solutions is the NRG Dock, which charges your notebook computer or mobile phone using solar cells.

Stick it in the garden on a clear day, and soon you'll have enough power to run your home electronics without charging them via mains power. You'll be saving the world a little at a time.

The NRG Dock is a gadget aimed at households, which is unusual for this type of product - we can't think of any similar offerings for the home, apart from smaller solar gadgets like the Solio.

Solar power

The NRG Dock is available in various models - the one in the photo here comes in two parts. You put the panel in your garden or on a balcony, and the dock itself inside your house, ready to charge your gadgets up. A back-up battery makes sure that you always have access to stored energy, even when the sun has gone down.

There's also a smaller version of the device, which attaches to the inside of a window using suction cups. This model is enough to charge smaller gadgets such as a mobile phone or Apple iPod. But it doesn't have a sufficient spread of solar cells for notebook computers, its makers told us.

Expect to shell out $800 (£408) for the home model of the NRG Dock. Nobody said saving the planet was going to be cheap...