- Renewable & Alternative Energy
10 Products That Use Solar Energy
Solar energy refers to the energy from the sun which is used to produce heat or electric power. This type of energy is in abundant supply and when converted to usable power is considered very environment friendly. Thus, people have invented many ways of using this powerful energy resource to benefit our day-to-day activities.
I remember that the first gadget which I've seen which uses solar energy is the solar powered calculator. It was an amazing invention that kickstarted the popularity of using solar energy. With the fast development in technology, there are a lot of creative applications of solar energy available in the market today.
Some of the successful applications include the solar powered earth satellites, rooftop installations of solar panels for heating water or providing an alternative source of electricity for homes, solar power plants, greenhouses and the solar car. In this hub, however, I would like to feature 10 products using solar energy which are handy, affordable and user-friendly to the average consumer.
1. Solar Charger for Electronics
Most of the gadgets nowadays like smartphone, laptop, e-book readers, iPod, digital camera, etc are supplied with power using chargers. If you're still using gadgets with AA batteries, you can switch to using rechargeable batteries which are more environment friendly and economical. The problem is you can't continue using these gadgets when the battery is low and so you need to charge them.
This is what may happen to frequent travelers, outdoor enthusiasts, and during emergency situations. With a solar charger on hand, you can charge electronic devices anywhere just by using the power of the sun.
2. Solar Car Battery Charger
I can't remember how many times already that we experienced our car failing to start because of discharged car battery. Maybe it was because the car was not used for a while or a light was accidentally left turned on in the parking lot.
There's no way you can have roof-mounted solar panels in your car that could recharge your car batteries. It's still way too expensive. But, there's a mini alternative solution to this problem presented by this solar car battery charger. You just need to plug it to the car's cigarette lighter socket, let the solar panel absorb sunlight and your car battery will be recharged. That's another cool way to use clean green energy.
3. Solar Keyboard
With the advent of many gadgets like the iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab or the Blackberry Playbook, many have also bought and used wireless keyboards. These keyboards require batteries and you can't use them in case the batteries are out, unless you have extra fresh batteries. What you need is this solar keyboard. The solar cells work in sunlight or any light and keeps your keyboard always charged and ready to use.
4. Solar-Powered Watch
Solar-powered watches have solar panels which absorb sunlight or artificial light. The light is then converted to electrical energy and stored in a rechargeable cell such as lithium ion batteries. This stored energy is used to power the watch during the night or when not exposed to light. Exposing the watch to light will automatically recharge the watch battery.
With this type of watch, there's no need to buy new batteries when your watch runs out of power - no hassle going to the watch repairman to have new batteries installed.
5. Solar Cooker
As a food technologist, I am familiar with using solar dehydrators. These are devices used to preserve food products like fruits or fish by drying them using the sun's heat.
But using the sun's heat to cook is something I have not done before. It's now possible using a solar oven or cooker. This solar appliance can be used to bake bread, cookies, pizza, muffins or anything you cook in the oven. It's amazing that it can cook using the power of the sun only and no fuel is ever needed.
Simple Solar Cooker DIY Project
6. Solar Water Bottle
Almost everyone uses a water bottle. But this water bottle is different. It is solar.
It is perfect when you or your kids go camping or hiking. Not only would you have a water bottle, but you would also get to use it as a flashlight or night light. Thanks to the solar panel and LED lights built into its waterproof cap.
It is a handy and affordable gadget that would be worth buying.
7. Solar backpack
Always on the go? Then you need a versatile bag to put in all your "can't go without" things like your mobile phone, laptop, digital camera, MP3 player and other gadgets.
Now, this solar backpack has a removable solar pocket which can charge all your handheld electronics using the power of the sunlight. It's perfect to bring along on a hiking or camping trip to keep your little gadgets charged and working.
8. Solar Curtains
Want to improve the heating or air cooling condition inside your home? There's no need to spend a lot because you can lower your costs on heating and air conditioning in your home. Try these solar curtains. You only need to hang these between your curtains and the window.
When it is cold, the solar curtains prevent heat loss and reflect heat back into the room. When it is very hot, the sun's rays are kept from penetrating and heating up the house.
9. Solar Lighting
People like decorating their house, the shrubs, umbrellas or doorways during special occasions like the Chistmas holidays. Now, using these solar lighting are really beautiful and economical for decorating the house. During the day, the solar panels collect the solar energy while at night they use the stored energy.
Solar lamps are priced a bit more compared to non-solar lamps but you will save on energy costs in the long run.
10. Solar Powered Toys
The toys that my kids have are most often battery powered. We always buy rechargeable batteries for these to save money on buying new batteries every time.
Just think if there's a way to use solar powered batteries in these toys just like in this solar car? It's a great savings and more environment friendly. Watch the video below and see how you can make your own solar toy car.
How to Make a Solar Toy Car?
These 10 are just samples of the creative uses or applications of solar energy. If you look more carefully at the market, there are still a lot more applications which can prove the good use of solar energy.