Solar Vending Machines

Vending machines can be found just about everywhere, except, maybe, where they’re needed most – tucked away on a remote beach or at the end of a gruelling golf-course hole. An Anglo-Spanish firm has come up with a solution: an off-the-grid, solar-powered vending machine that can be placed anywhere there’s adequate sunlight. In the process, Solar Energy Vending (SEV) has greatly expanded the locations that can be served by an industry that matured decades ago.

Solar Energy Vending

A big challenge for SEV was developing a refrigeration system strong enough to keep the machine’s food and drinks cool, while powered solely by the sun. Solar panels on top keep the machine’s refrigerator running, and a rechargeable battery provides power at night or during prolonged cloudy periods. A wind turbine can substitute for solar cells in less sunny climes, where hot beverages could make the vending dispensers a popular stop-off along ski runs.

The company has been working on the concept since 2004. Machines have been placed at locations throughout Spain and on at least one golf course in the UK. Besides revenue from sales of food and drinks, the machines are also equipped to display advertising. SEV’s website touts what could be another major enticement for machine purchasers, at least in Europe, saying EEC regulations waive income taxes on profits from the machines since they rely on renewable energy.

SEV’s vending machines join a growing number of devices, such as road signs and emergency phones, that can be placed just about anywhere, thanks to their reliance on solar energy.

[Via Springwise]

4 thoughts on “Solar Vending Machines

  1. “Vending machines can be found just about everywhere, except, maybe, where they’re needed most – tucked away on a remote beach or at the end of a gruelling golf-course hole.” …could not agree more. How many times I’ve been on a hot beach and no drinks or snacks around?…but I guess it is kinda har to keep them out of sand…:(

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  2. “A big challenge for SEV was developing a refrigeration system strong enough to keep the machine’s food and drinks cool” I can imagine. Refrigeration systems are notorious energy hogs. I guess this system must be super insulated (I see it’s painted white). I bet the the areas these things are placed are typically sunny but not overly hot. The article mentions Spain but doesn’t specific. I’d be interested to know what region.

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