Imagine an IDF infantry unit marching through the hills of southern Lebanon during a war with Hizbullah. At one point the batteries in the communications devices and laptops run out. Without a nearby generator, they are cut off from the rest of the military.
Not for long. In the coming months, the IDF Logistics Corps plans to begin providing infantry units with specially designed compact solar panels that can provide up to 30 watts of electricity and charge several batteries simultaneously.
The solar panel, made in Israel by several companies, will have a socket connected to it that will allow soldiers to plug in different chargers for a wide-range of equipment. This will also lessen the load that infantry soldiers carry in their combat kits, since they will only need to pack a single rechargeable battery instead of several in case they run out and cannot find electricity.
"This gives us logistical and operational flexibility," explained Maj. Eran Simon, the manager of the solar panel project in the Logistics Corps. "This way soldiers will be able to recharge batteries wherever they are even, if they don't have electricity or a generator."
The device is charged after 2 to 3 hours of exposure to the sun. It weighs one-and-a-half kilograms and can be folded up into a 2x1-meter panel. The IDF is also working on a larger solid panel that will weigh 2.5 kg and will be used in jeeps and forward field bases.