There’s not a huge demand for QuickerTek’s solar photovoltaic chargers for Apple MacBooks, said QuickerTek’s president Rick Estes.
“But when someone needs it, they really need it,” Estes said.
QuickerTek produces two versions of its foldable PV solar array for Mac computers called the Apple Juicz. The 27-watt setup works for most MacBook users, according to the company’s press release. A 55-watt array is also available for those MacBook users who use more power and need faster charging times.
QuickerTek announced the release of its newest version of the Apple Juicz solar chargers this week, just a few weeks after Apple rolled outs third generation MacBook Air. The new chargers are configured specifically for the newest versions of the computers.
QuickerTek is the only company that produces solar chargers that are compatible with Apple’s laptops, Estes said. The chargers can be used to power other devices. But QuickerTek has contracted with Mac to buy its patented magnetic power supply connections.
Apple’s laptops feature power cords that attach to the computers magnetically, allowing them to detach without hurting the computer or the cord when someone trips over it or inadvertently walks away with a laptop that is still plugged in.
The technology has been a boon to Apple, but it’s also made it difficult for manufacturers to mass produce power supplies for the computers.
“The PV charges evolved because people were asking for them,” Estes said.
They are not typically used as a fashion accessory at $700 for the 27-watt charger and $1,200 for the 55-watt version. But the solar chargers are key for Mac users in the wild. People who work in remote areas are QuickerTek’s primary customers for the chargers, Estes said.
A group recently used the chargers on an ascent of Mount Everest.
Estes said he believed the climbers used three of the 55-watt arrays and wired them together. QuickerTek can also make custom cable for specific projects like that one, Estes said.
A doctor also recently bought one of the chargers to use in Haiti, where he needed to be able to power his Mac so he could communicate and send images and information back and forth, Estes said.
The arrays can usually charge a MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air in about 12 hours with the 27-watt version and half the time with the 55-watt array. The new MacBook Air can charge 30 percent faster, according to the release.
That has a lot to do with the increased efficiency of the computer, Estes said.
How quickly the computer charges and how long it can run on the solar power “depends on the computer, the environment and the applications,” Estes said.