Solar-powered vending machines

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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 has greatly expanded the locations that can be served by an industry that matured decades ago. 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.

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