Every year at CES, the Eureka Park outpost where they stick the scrappy startups is the best damn part of the whole shindig. This is where all the people with a screw loose or a decided lack of good common sense come to peddle their spaghetti-cooking robot or aroma-powered computer – or, as happened this year, their solar-powered beer cooler.
SolarCooler is a “world first,” which is a common epithet at Eureka Park, and it’s currently undergoing crowdfunding on Indiegogo. The startup is looking for $150,000 to make their portable refrigerator (it even makes ice!) a reality, but it’s currently looking like it’ll need a real groundswell of support to get there.
Here’s the big issue: the entry-level model costs just under $1,000, and that’s a special backer-only price. Retail for the SolarCooler is $1,200, which is bound to be a bitter pill to swallow even for the most ardent of tailgaters. Still, this is essentially a solar-powered 12V battery backup for everything combined with a cooler that offers true, continuous refrigeration, so that price tag starts to look at lot more reasonable when you consider its other potential uses.
It also has a lot of potential to help out in commercial and medical settings as a transport for goods that need to be kept cool when direct power is in scarce supply and loading up a device with a significant number of batteries would make it cumbersome to use.
SolarCooler is pursuing a flex funding goal, meaning it walks away with whatever it raises, and the founder seems keen on building it whatever the outcome, but there are still over 40 days left in the campaign, so it could still turn into a Cinderella story. All I know is I like beer, and I like it cold (that ‘best served at room temperature stuff’ is BS) so SolarCooler makes sense to me.