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Going solar? Why?

11 May

I discovered solar energy and mobile solar products a couple of months ago thanks to GoalZero company.
Photo 20-04-13 10 25 48 AMSince then I’m a heavy user of those products and I decided to interview James Atkin (director of Community Martketing at Goal Zero) and have a chat about the company, the products and the philosophy behind it.

1. How did GoalZero started?
Robert Workman did start GoalZero. Robert was working in Democratic Republic of Congo where people have issues to have access to electricity. Robert decided to supply reliable, portable energy, that’s how they created the first Goal Zero prototype.

2. Why solar energy ? Photo 20-04-13 10 23 19 AM
We started out to fix a need for portable power and Solar is the best and most efficient way to have a renewable portable power right now.

3. Who are your clients ?
There are 7 billion of them πŸ™‚ whether you are in a developing country or if your are living in NY. Power is NOW a basic human need and we want to help power and light up the world.

4. Is solar technology for everyone ?

Basically, if you use plugs, there is a portable solar energy solution for you. (ed.)

5. Are there a lot of power outages around the world ? Why ?
%50 of the world has unreliable power and %20 has no power at all. In many countries the power grid is very sketchy and goes out numerous times a day. Any power grid can go offline at any moment and if your fully relying on that power then you’ll be out. We all witnessed this during sandy and katrina.

The electricity can be down because of a snow storm, water flood, fire, … or just be down. Portable solar panels and rechargers give you the possibility to keep going with your electric devices (light, heater, fridge, … or cell phones, tablets, …) and wait stressless-free until power gets back on. You don’t need electricity cuts to use portable solar solution wherever and whenever. (ed.)

6. How should we prepare to face power outage ? What could be our “survival kit” ?
The best way is to be prepared. There are many forms of power, some are renewable some are combustible. I would have some sort of water cleaning device, food storage (enough food for 1 month if not longer), lights, a power supply (depends on what your power needs are, you can have solar for an iPod or your fridge, heater, TV, radio, …).Photo 20-04-13 10 23 58 AM (HDR)

7. Tell us about “Sandy”
Sandy was devastating but open up many minds around the world about the potential for power outages, disaster events and being prepared. It changed my life and my teams life that went there as well. We brought in the GZnation to help us with our efforts there. We raised 600k to give out power and lights to areas affected by the power outages. It was crazy to see how many families were unprepared and all they had was 1 candle for a family of 5. We were able to prove a ton of power and lights to be in really bad shape and it really did change their life and helped them get back on their feet faster.

The GoalZero team shipped products and their team from Utah to Sandy’s most devastated areas where people were out of electricity for the past 10 days … they offered help and hope to the persons thinking nobody cared and helped them go through this tough period. it was a life line through disaster. (ed.)

8. Any project ? A new product you are working on ?
We are working on a new humanitarian program called Share the Sun, it will be going live in the next month. It is our platform to bring in our friends, fans, retailers and corporate partners to light the world.

We have a new product coming out that is basically the new phone booth. Its called the street charge and we will be launching that later this month. We have 2 bigger solar generators coming out, a new speaker design, a new lantern and a few tips for the Switch 8.

Thanks James for enlightening us and we’ll stay tuned to those new releases.

Be aware the GoalZero founded a non-profit organization, Humanitarian association called Tifie (Teaching Individuals and Family Independence through Enterprise ). The objective is to give individuals opportunity to provide for themselves and their families, on the principle that all individuals deserve the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families.

Tifie is based on providing portable power AND also proceeds from each Goal Zero proceeds with the dream that one day there will be
. ZERO illiteracy
. ZERO poverty
. ZERO hunger
… obective GOAL ZERO!

More infos
. Follow @GoalZero and @GoalZeroAU
. Official GoalZero Website
. GoalZero Blog Off the grid
. Time to Switch, our review of Goal Zero panel and Switch 8 recharger
. Going Solar, part 2, follow up of our “Time to Switch” review

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