The Marines just introduced a portable solar power system this spring, and a few weeks later the Air Force kicked in with a portable solar system of its own. Now the U.S. Army has entered the fray with a portable battery recharging kit called the Rucksack Enhanced Portable Power System (REPPS), which features a 62-watt solar panel “blanket” tucked into a backpack. The system was just deployed in Afghanistan this summer.
Each REPPS weighs only ten pounds. The flexible 62-watt solar panel can recharge many common military batteries in a few hours, but wait, there’s more. The panels can also run electronic devices, and they can be linked to provide more power. They can convert AC to DC and if there is no sun, they can scavenge power from wall outlets, vehicles (through the cigarette lighter), and even from partially spent disposable batteries.
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