By Erika Owen
April 20, 2015
Solar shade
Credit: B/E Aerospace

Now that in-flight Wi-Fi is all but ubiquitous, there’s nothing more frustrating than sitting on a plane with a dead device. Fortunately, aircraft components manufacturer B/E Aerospace is trying to remedy the in-air annoyance with Solar Eclipse, a window shade that uses solar power to charge personal electronics.

So how does the technology, which, recently won an aircraft cabin design award, work?

“Super efficient thin film solar cells integrated into the window shade convert the high-solar irradiation available at altitude into 8-44 watts of energy,” said the company in a brief to judges at the Crystal Cabin Awards competition.

The shade is just as easy to install as existing designs and weighs only a few grams more. USB outlets would be located underneath the shades for easy passenger access, and this type of energy corralling offers benefits to the airlines, as well.

An article on Skift breaks it down: “On a single 737 making six 1,000 nautical mile trips every day, the Solar Eclipse would yield a savings of around $22,000, fuel savings of over 7,300 gallons per year, and reduce 154,000 pounds of CO2 emissions.”

Score one for the window seat.

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.