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The Solar Tent Design Concept By Orange

An Attempt At A Sustainable Solar Tent Concept By Orange

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George Duval
Guide

Solar panels are a camper’s best friend. Staking out the great outdoors has never been easier thanks to advances in solar-powered technology. Campers can now harness energy from the sun and power their electronic devices for free. But the French telecom giant Orange is taking it even further. They’ve recently unveiled the solar tent, which comes complete with built-in flexible solar panels. The tent is capable of heating, charging electronics, WiFi, and even has its own lighting. The aptly named Chill n’ Charge Tent hasn’t been released and is still in the concept stage, but a few have been deployed for public use at the Glastonbury music festival. The solar tent can potentially revolutionize camping, but does it actually live up to the hype?

What is the Solar tent?

The solar tent, or the Chill ‘n Charge Tent as it’s called by Orange, is a high-tech camping tent powered by flexible solar panels. The tent was originally designed by French telecom company Orange, in cooperation with Kaleidoscope, an American design company. The tents were made for the Glastonbury music festival in the UK as a way to test the design and reception of the tents.

The tent is outfitted with three flexible solar panels affixed to the rainfly. The panels sit on a 180-degree rotational axis that spans the entirety of the tent, so they can be adjusted by simply gliding them along over the tent as the sun moves through the sky. The panels will be made with a newly designed photovoltaic fabric that will be interwoven with normal fabrics to create a flexible cloth surface that generates electricity using the sun’s rays. The tents are made to be oriented from east to west to maximize exposure to sunlight.

Amenities

The Chill ‘n Charge Solar Tent is packed with luxury and is great for glampers and festival goers alike. The solar panels power a whole host of electronic amenities. The most striking is the lighting. In addition to its own internal lighting, the solar tent will come equipped with “Glowcation” technology, where the tent glows to help users find their campsites at night. The Glowcation can be activated by text message or RFID tag, similar to the London Underground’s Oyster Card. The designers of the tent wanted to combat the problem of festival goers getting lost while searching for their campsite. Lost and wandering attendees are a common sight at Glastonbury, as well as other music festivals like Coachella and Tomorrowland. The tent also comes with its own Wifi so users can connect to the internet. Whether the WiFi is going to be centralized or broadcast via router hasn’t been decided by the designers. For those days when it gets chilly, the solar tent comes equipped with floor heaters that can be activated once the ground temperature drops below a certain level. The tent will even feature a wireless charging station, which uses induction to create a magnetic field, which is then used to charge your electronic devices.

According to designers, the excess energy from the tent can be used to power music equipment and vendor stands, but it’s unknown just how much energy can be produced if we don’t have the technical specs for the solar panels.

As for comfort, the tent comfortably sleeps four people, although considering that it’s designed for a music festival, a lot more people can probably be packed inside. The solar panels can double as shaders when it’s sunny, and the tent has four screened windows to let in the breeze.

All of the electronics in the solar tent will be controlled by a wireless control hub inside the tent. The hub features a display that shows how much electricity is being generated by the panels, how much your consuming, and allows you to access the controls for the floor heater and WiFi.

What we think about the solar tent

The solar-powered tent is an awesome concept, but what matters is the execution. The Chill ‘n Charge Solar Tent is well designed, meant to provide a fun and comfortable place for campers to end the night. Though, I do have some reservations. The tent seems to be made primarily for music festivals, and less for the outdoors, which is a bit of a letdown. The designers of the Chill ‘n Charge claim that the tent will be able to power music equipment and vendor stands, which require a lot of power. Since the tent hasn’t been released, we don’t know the specs of the solar panels, like efficiency, wattage, or any of the other crucial details. Does that mean the tent can also power things meant for camping, like electric cookers and floodlights? We also don’t know how comfortable or sturdy the tent actually is. How does it hold up to rain? What about strong winds? Is it easy to set up? The tent is still in the design stage, but these are essential questions considering that this is a product meant to be used outdoors.

The solar tent is great for festival goers, which is who it seems to have been designed for. It’s a good tool for keeping in touch with friends in the hectic environment at a large music festival, where large, inebriated crowds make personal safety a major issue. The Glowcation, WiFi, and wireless charging make for an easy-to-locate safe zone, where you and your friends can return to if you find yourself lost, or are in need of a break from the drunken crowds and large music.

Even for music festivals, it’s still necessary to know how the tent holds up to inclement weather. Sturdiness is also an issue, as the drunken patrons at a festival are sure to stumble into, and fall, onto the tent. How will the solar panels hold up if they take a beating? If the solar panels and the associated electronics are easily damaged, then bringing it to a rowdy music festival might not be a great idea.

If you’re someone who just likes to set up camp at the beach every so often, then I would absolutely purchase the Chill ‘n Charge Solar Tent. The amenities are great for a short daytime outing on the shore or at a nearby park. The WiFi allows you to connect to the internet while you relax and enjoy some fun in the sun. Even at night, the calm glow can provide a soothing ambiance. And the floor heaters can give you a nice buzz when it gets cool.

The solar tent concept is great, and the amenities that come with the Chill ‘n Charge are nice to dream about, but one still has to question its functionality. Does it hold a charge? How will it work at night? The Glowcation feature is meant to work in the dark, but if there’s no sun, then that goes right out of the window. So far, we haven’t seen anything about energy storage, meaning it will have to rely on external batteries. The entire product is dead in the water if there’s no energy storage included, which is unfortunate, because the Chill ‘n Charge can potentially pioneer a whole new line of solar-powered technology.

Final Verdict

Solar tents are a great idea, and there’s no doubt that they will become a common sight in the future, but I would wait it out. The Chill ‘n Charge Solar Tent is the first among many, and the concept has a long way to go before it’s a functional, usable product. We don’t know how durable it is, or if it works at night, and you can be sure that it’s gonna come with a hefty price tag.

The solar tent does have some awesome amenities, so if you’re into having novelty items, then go for it. You’ll definitely be the talk of the town. The Glowcation is the most striking feature, and you’ll create a nice atmosphere for your festival chill spot. The communication features like WiFi and wireless charging also make it perfect for creating a safe space when your electronics are giving out after a day of heavy partying.

If your a camper looking for an all-in-one tent and solar panel combo, then keep it moving. The Chill ‘n Charge simply isn’t meant for the outdoors. We also don’t know how comfortable or sturdy the solar tent is, or if it can support external appliances, so investing in it is a gamble. It’s still best to invest in a high-quality tent rated for outdoor use, and buy a separate solar panel. If you’re the DIY type, you can always create your own Chill ‘n Charge by attaching some flexible panels to the outside of the tent.

Conclusion

The Chill ‘n Charge Solar Tent is a collaboration between French telecom giant Orange and American design company Kaleidoscope. The name is quite fitting, as the tent is definitely a great place to relax and charge your devices. It still hasn’t been released, but the idea has many buzzing with excitement. Though it is a tent, it was designed with music festivals in mind, specifically the Glastonbury festival in the UK. Outdoorsmen need not apply. Its three woven flexible solar panels are meant to power the electronics in the tent, and it’s unknown if they’re capable of powering other devices. You’re also going to need a battery for the nighttime. With that said, the amenities are pretty neat. The heated floors, WiFi, wireless charging, and Glo-cation feature are definitely something to brag about. If released, the Chill ‘n Charge will be the first of its kind, and like the first release of any new product, there are bound to be some bugs. Although the solar tent is a cool concept, it might be best to hang back and see where this new concept goes before making a purchase.

FAQs

What is the solar tent?

The solar tent is a tent with three flexible solar panels attached. The panels are made of PV fabric woven with normal fabrics to create a semi-conductor cloth that generates electricity from sunlight. The solar panels are attached to the tent’s rainfly, where they glide on a rotational axis that spans the entire outside of the tent. The panels can be easily oriented toward the sun as the day progresses.

Who designed the solar tent?

The solar tent is a collaboration between Orange, a French telecommunications company, and Kaleidoscope, an American design company. The tent was originally designed for the Glastonbury music festival in the UK, to give concert goers a safer and more comfortable place to camp out.

What amenities does the solar tent have?

The designers call their creation the Chill ‘n Charge Solar Tent, and for good reason. The tent’s solar panels provide power for its wireless charging capabilities, as well as floor heating, WiFi, and lighting. The most interesting feature is the Glowcation, where the tent glows in response to a prompt by a text message or RFID chip to help users locate their camping spot in the dark. The tent also features a wireless control hub which provides real-time updates on solar panel performance and allows one to control the WiFi and space heating.

Can the solar tent power my devices?

The tent does have a wireless charging feature, and can charge small electronic devices such as cell phones, smartwatches, and tablets. The designers claim that the tent can use its excess electricity to power external equipment related to the music festival, but it’s unknown how much excess power they provide.

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Author Bio

George Duval is a writer and expert in sustainability and environmental studies. After graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability from Florida International University, George began dedicating his life to researching new ways to make the world a greener place. His expertise ranges from organic gardening, to renewable energy, to eating plant-based diets. He is currently writing and editing for a number of publications, most of which focus on the environment.

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