Thanks to widespread free Wi-Fi, when the sun shines (which is quite often) I can head outdoors to work. When it gets too bright to view the laptop screen in the open, there's usually a tree-shaded picnic bench available at the lakeside where I can comfortably type away to my heart's content ... until my battery dies. Were I fortunate enough to find a Solar Bench from Ontario's Green Sun Rising, limited battery life might not be such a concern. The table and twin bench structure is topped by a photovoltaic paneled roof that not only provides some welcome relief from a blazing mid-day sun, but can juice up smartphone or mobile computing devices, too.

Having a design reminiscent of the company's Solar Bikeport announced earlier in the year - that's reportedly capable of the off-grid top-up of an e-bike's battery pack during the course of a sunny day - the Solar Bench's all-aluminum frame has a PV panel canopy sporting three flexible, thin-film solar modules with a claimed output of over 200W. Instead of bike supports, weather-proofed cedar wood benches and a table top sit beneath the corrugated roof.

There's a built-in storage battery for those rare occasions when the sun just refuses to come out, and 2W LED lamps fitted underneath the roof for continued working when night falls.

An example installation has been set up outside the company's Renewable Energy Technology Center in Windsor, Ontario. Green Sun Rising has confirmed that the Solar Bench is currently for sale but is remaining tight-lipped on pricing, encouraging potential customers to get in touch for details.

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