Solio Solar-powered Battery Charger

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Solio Solar-powered Battery Charger

When rechargeable batteries for electronics became commonplace, the eco-conscious let out a collective and short-lived sigh of relief. As it turns out, recharging those batteries is not the greenest activity in the world, considering it's typically coal or nuclear power juicing them up.

Enter Solio, a battery charger that relies on clean energy to power up the power for your cell phone, MP3 player, digital camera or PDA.

The Solio Hybrid 1000 works pretty much like any other battery charger: Snap in a battery and plug into a power source. Only with Solio, that power source can be a solar panel. And according to the manufacturer, the solar panel charges a battery as quickly as grid-power does [source: Solio].

The device actually stores power, so you can leave it in the sun before a trip and then just throw the charger in your bag without worrying about sunshine. And anyway, in case of clouds, Solio can also charge through a wall outlet or a USB port -- thus the "Hybrid" designation.

The Solio Hybrid 1000 sells for about $50.

And No. 1 on our list of solar-powered gadgets: You can't live without it, and you can make it yourself at home.

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