First Solar chief thinks solar backpacks are “cool”

April 3, 2008

Voltaic Systems Solar BackpackSolar power company First Solar may be worth $19.6 billion, but its CEO is still tickled by the latest “green” consumer products.

Take solar backpacks, for instance. The trendy totes boast photovoltaic solar panels that generate power for consumers to recharge their iPods, digital cameras or other electronic devices.

“Things like the solar backpack, things that are off-grid… that can be intermittent or even charging a small battery, that stuff’s kind of cool. And there’s a real functional use to that,” Ahearn said in an interview with Reuters.

Some things, however, even solar executives are skeptical of, such as cars with solar roof panels that can recharge their batteries.

“I’ve seen cars in Germany with solar roofs on them. We haven’t looked at them as a product. Off the cuff, it seems more gimmicky to me than real,” Ahearn said.

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