Every third Thursday, the winter sport experts at Signal Snowboards like to head into their workshop, throw around some ideas and build something truly unique and creative. As the team spend a large amount of their time up mountains, they thought they should build something that would take advantage of the large amounts of sunlight available to them – a solar power-generating snowboard.
Using Powerfilm Solar’s ultra-thin and flexible solar cells, the team was able to cut a ‘solar template’ and then fix it to a custom-made snowboard. They then wired into a converter mounted between the board’s bindings. The idea is that the cells charge the battery which can then be used to charge phones and tablets through a USB connection.
The team, which consists of engineers, electricians and snowboarders, constructed the board and then tested it by charging a phone. With the electronics working fine in the workshop, all that was left to do was to test it out on the slopes.
Signal snowboarder Tyler Flanagan then took it to Mammoth Mountain where he put the board through its paces whilst charging his electronics at the same time. While the whole experiment was merely a one-off test, the idea of a solar power snowboard has some very real-world potential. Winter sports enthusiasts could spend the day carving up the slopes whilst using the board to charge emergency search equipment, gadgets or music players for the apres ski events.