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Solar Powered Wi-Fi

Bruce Baikie and Marc Pomerleau are truly alternative energy role models. Their nonprofit organization, Green Wi-Fi, is trying to bring Internet access to schools in developing countries through cheap, solar-powered Wi-Fi networks. Pomerleau left his day job at Sun Microsystems to focus on their non-profit company, and Baikie stayed.

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, which aims to make $100 laptops to distribute to children in slowly developing countries, gave the new non-profit their first donation. OLPC showed immediate interest in the Wi-Fi initiative, Pomerleau said. The solar powered Green Wi-Fi organization has a plan of attack- to create a Wi-Fi network using solar powered nodes. The nodes will be placed on rooftops and will consist of a solar panel, a battery, a solar charge controller, and a router.

solar powered wi-fi

Despite the "not so sunny" weather in India, the duo found a solar-powered system that would function under variable weather conditions.

Baikie developed the software that powers the intelligent solar charge controller. When power is low, the router limits bandwidth and can even prevent streaming media. When power is stable, the router opens up full access again. After successfully testing a prototype for a rainy month in San Francisco, Baikie was pleased. The network never went down the entire month.

With ingenuity like this, Green Wi-Fi will do more than just give the Internet to developing countries, they'll show them that alternative energy opens doors to a new world.