Solar energy is more than a concept and many are incorporating this greener power into their lives. Today, there are practical ways that you can make use of solar energy in your home. More and more homeowners are beginning to make everyday use of this most basic source of renewable energy.
Interesting Uses for Solar That You May Not Know
The good news is that you no longer have to invest tens of thousands of dollars to cover your roof with solar panels. There are now a variety of stand-alone solar-powered devices that serve essential practical purposes. Many of these will surprise you but will make a huge difference in your lives.
1. Solar backpacks
You can wear photovoltaic generators, such as vests or backpacks with solar panels. These packs are designed to supply low-voltage power that can energize cell phones, notebook computers, tablets, MP3 players, and various other mobile devices. These solar backpacks are great for students, traveling, or anyone that commutes by walking.
2. Solar Powered RVs
You have been wanting to hit the open road for months at a time to explore every inch of the country. But you need ro make sure the fridge stays running and the lights stay on without draining the car battery. Many enthusiastic RVers have now embraced solar power in order to run things like refrigerators, lights, water pumps, and televisions. Solar panels are efficient, relatively cheap, and provide enough power to stay off the grid for weeks on end. They are essentially every RVers dream.
3. Solar Powered Bikes
Electric bikes are becoming an increasingly popular mode of travel and you don’t need to drop thousands for a Tesla. Electric bikes offer power-assisted pedaling to help you rocket up hills and cruise for miles while hardly breaking a sweat. You get the perfect boost with a lithium-ion battery that powers a small engine connected to the bike. Enthusiasts can even hook their batteries up to solar-powered systems.
4. Solar Heating for Your Pool
Swimming pools are one of the best parts of summer and everyone is excited to jump in. But, the excitement fades when they crash into ice-cold water. To fix that problem, you can add a solar blanket that will warm the water. The basic floating blanket is a passive heating device that works simply by absorbing the sun’s heat and transmitting it to the water. You could also install a full-fledged solar water heating system. This uses solar heating panels that are mounted on your roof to collect the sun’s heat, and this is transmitted to the water through a series of tubes that loop through the panels. As the water is slowly circulated between the pool and the solar heating panels temperature in the pool is gradually increased.
5. Solar Energy for Outdoor Lighting
Rather than using low-voltage lighting powered by a transformer plugged into a 120-volt outlet, it is perfectly possible to provide landscape lighting with individual lighting fixtures. Each of which will have its own solar cell and rechargeable storage battery. Thanks to LED technology and improved batteries, you can get quite adequate landscape lighting with these fixtures. No connections required at all. The solar panels charge the batteries during the day to keep the lights powered all through the night.
6. Solar Charged Batteries
Virtually any device that operates on a battery can be charged with solar power. All you need is a photo-electric panel system. The nature of photo-electric solar panels is to generate DC current, which is the same form used in most batteries. Most solar panel kits have connections that allow you to plug in cell phones, tablets, and laptops for direct charging. By adding a simple inverter that converts DC current to 120-volt AC current, you can also plug in the chargers for other batteries.
7. Solar Fountains
You can add a fountain to your yard that uses photovoltaic panels to run their water pumps. These fountains have become more popular as they save on electricity. They also remove the need for a nearby outlet and ugly power cords stretched across the yard. It is recommended that if you have a solar-powered fountain to ensure it is not shaded by a tree or the building.
8. Solar Energy Cooking
You can also use solar energy simply to cook a meal. This is something of a novelty exercise, but cooking with solar energy is much easier than you think. With a box, pan, aluminum foil, a cooking bag, duct tape, styrofoam insulation, and a thermometer, you’ll be cooking in no time at all. By creating a container lined with foil to focus the sun’s rays into a cooking chamber you can generate the heat needed for cooking. Dozens of plans for solar cookers are available online.
9. Solar Powered Ventilation Fans
Ventilation fans of any type are a good idea since they help reduce cooling costs. They do this by exhausting hot air from attic spaces and other areas. These exhaust fans are usually wired into household electrical current, which defeats the energy-saving purpose. Now, you can buy self-contained roof vent fans that feature a small panel of photo-electric cells. These cells operate the fan motor with no need for household electrical current. Small roof-mounted units are perfect for keeping a garage, shed, doghouse, or children’s patio play area cool in the summer.