Sustainable Energy

The sun could soon be charging your phone

Anmar Frangoul | Special to
The sun: Could it charge your phone?

Smartphones, tablets, laptops and notebooks: we live in a world dominated by smart mobile devices. While the world may be a better connected place, users are united by a common gripe: battery life, or rather the lack of it.

Could solar power be the answer? One French company, Sunpartner Technologies, have developed solar technology – which they call 'What you see is photovoltaic surface' or Wysips.

Gavin Price | EyeEm | Getty Images

According to the company, Wysips is "based on assembling a thin, photovoltaic surface with a network of micro-lenses" which they say ensures the cells are "invisible to the naked eye." As soon as they are exposed to light, the photovoltaic cells are activated, and begin to charge or power up whatever device they are attached to.

"Sunpartner Technologies developed the Wysips technology to bring photovoltaic transparent and invisible solutions to produce a source of energy closer to the consumer," Ludovic Deblois, president of Sunpartner Technologies, told CNBC's Sustainable Energy.

How does the system work?

"The Wysips technology is made of two parts," Franck Aveline, Sunpartner's R&D director, said. "One which is transforming light into energy, and an optical lens which makes the photovoltaic film invisible for the user."

The company's Wysips Crystal technology can be integrated on to mobile devices – cell phones and e-readers, for example – during the manufacturing process.

Powering a factory… with potatoes

Sunpartner say that if a battery runs out of juice on the go, users can hold their screen up to a light source and recharge the phone, with "full self-sufficiency" possible for models that consume less energy: e-readers and cheaper cell phones, for example.

Another feature developed by the company includes what they call Li-Fi. "Li-Fi is a data transmission technology where the light is a 'data vector'," Aveline said.

"Our Wysips component, as well as producing energy, senses this information," he added. "For example, if I move my mobile under a coded light it starts a video on it."

Earlier this year, Sunpartner raised 8.8 million euros ($9.64 million) in equity for the large scale production of its components.

"We are today beginning… production and the first commercial products will be sold next year," Deblois said.