As humanity’s supply of fossil fuels continue to dwindle, global emphasis on renewable sources of energy has become stronger than ever before. Solar energy, obtained through the use of photovoltaic cells or concentrated solar power known as CSP, is the most efficient form of renewable energy that’s currently accessible to us. Hence, it is understandable that many would consider this form of energy to be a priority. That said, it is important to know the various ways in which solar energy can be practically utilized. Here are ten of the best uses for solar energy that are currently available.
Solar Powered Rubbish Bin With WiFi
You might not think that a trash bin requires solar power, but the ones that are currently in use which utilize this form of energy are no ordinary trash bins. Rather, they are highly sophisticated technological innovations that provide a myriad of additional benefits. Solar trash bins that are currently in use have sensors that detect when trash is disposed of in the bin and subsequently compress the trash. Needless to say, both the sensor as well as the compressor are powered using solar energy.
This particular use for solar power is particularly important because it can help humanity deal with another issue: the disposal of waste and rubbish. Landfills are overflowing and it’s fair to say that there is too much trash to deal with currently. This unique rubbish bin can reduce the total amount of trash by 80%. What’s more is that it can reduce the cost of trash collection by 75% as well, making it a sound investment for municipal governments or private entities to look into.
Solar Powered Vehicles & Transportation
Transportation is one area of human activity that tends to use the largest amount of energy. This energy is generally provided through fossil fuels and the like but in recent years and increasing number of solar powered transportation solutions are beginning to be implemented as well, thereby reducing the need for fossil fuels in general.
Solar powered cars are already quite well known. Public transportation such as buses and the like are also used in this regard. However, one big issue that has come up repeatedly has had to do with long distance transportation, namely through airplanes and boats. This is an issue that is slowly being resolved, and there are two major examples of this right now.
The Turanor PlanetSolar is a solar powered boat that is capable of traveling 19 kilometers per hour thanks to its 8.5 tons worth of lithium ion batteries. Solar Impulse 1 was the first ever solar powered plane, tested in 2009 by flying across the United States. Its successor, Solar Impulse 2, is even more impressive. It has already travelled 550 hours straight in a single flight in order to show its vast capabilities.
Solar Powered Consumer Gadgets
These days there are a number of gadgets that you are probably going to have on your person. These include your phone, a tablet computer, a laptop, headphones as well as a variety of other things. All of these devices would need to be charged, and standard electricity is what most people use in this regard.
However, solar power is becoming increasingly prevalent in these areas as well. Solar powered phones, laptops and tablets and headphones are included. In some cases there would be chargers for mainstream devices that use solar power. Other devices would be run solely on solar power, something that is likely to become increasingly common as the years go by. Humanity’s shift towards the use of solar energy is inevitable and this is a big part of it.
Solar panel chargers are particularly popular. They can be used during camping or hiking to keep you technologically connected. This can help prevent a lot of dangerous situations that might occur if you are not near an active power source.
Solar Powered Appliances For Home Use
Home appliances are commonly using solar power these days. The most pertinent example would be the solar cooker. While many use this type of cooker outdoors, making it perfect for barbeques and the like, using it indoors is not uncommon either. This can reduce greenhouse gas emissions quite a bit. Hence, this is just another double edged benefit of a very practical use for solar energy.
Another popular solar powered appliance is the solar lamp. Using solar energy which it stores in lithium ion cells, these lamps can help illuminate your home. They are especially useful for study tables where they can be utilized to shed a little more light on whatever you are working on.
Many other appliances are being powered through solar energy now as well. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before all the appliances in the average home are powered through the use of solar energy. Appliances such as air conditioners are also becoming more common in the solar energy world.
Solar Heated Swimming Pool
Swimming is a very enjoyable activity. Kids tend to love it a lot. Because the feeling of being in the water is amazing, especially during summer months. Swimming is also a great form of exercise. It targets most muscle groups and also gives you a cardio workout. However, in the cold winter months it can be tough to swim. Heated swimming pools are expensive after all since they use up a lot of energy.
That said, solar heated swimming pools are a much better option. You would essentially be heating up the pool using free energy that you are getting from the sun. This will allow you to swim all year round no matter how cold or hot it may be. Getting in warm water when it’s cold can be a lot of fun, so this type of swimming pool can be a really significant lifestyle improvement for you. It helps that it won’t increase your electricity bill at all.
Solar Powered Satellites
Satellites are necessary for space exploration. They can be costly though, so it would help if these costs were offset by something. Solar energy is perfect for this. Not only can solar satellites mitigate costs by absorbing solar energy but they can become profitable as well because they will take in a lot more solar energy than anything could on the surface of the Earth.
Solar energy does reach the Earth of course but not that much of it gets past our atmosphere. In space there is no barrier between the sun and the satellite, only a vast void that solar energy can pass through easily.
These satellites can collect solar energy, convert it into microwaves and then send these microwaves to towers on the ground. This could be a revolutionary way to collect and distribute energy. It is cost effective and essentially limitless. The only obstacle is the initial cost, but this is an obstacle that will be overcome in coming years as more and more funds are directed to the acquisition of solar power as fossil fuel supplies dwindle.
Solar Powered Calculator
While many of the entries on this list are quite recent in their invention, the solar powered calculator has been around for decades. It’s a testament to how simple solar technology can be if implemented correctly. Most of us can remember using calculators like these in our youth. The small strip on top is a solar panel, and a fairly efficient one at that.
It’s true that handheld calculators are out of fashion now. After all, pretty much everybody has a calculator in their phone. However, this is still a good example of how widespread solar technology already is. It is often talked about as if it is a fringe idea. This is not true at all. We have been using solar technology for practical purposes for decades now.
The version that’s currently available was made back in the 80s. A company called Anylite Technology made it. The innovation made it so that the calculator would need less light in order to function. This made it easier to carry around and gave birth to the first pocket calculator that ran on renewable energy.
Solar Powered Lights
Being able to illuminate your home is very important. A lot of energy is required to properly illuminate a house if you use standard bulbs. While energy saving variants are also quite common these days, they still rely on fossil fuel derived energy. While solar powered bulbs are not common in indoor settings, they can be used quite effectively outdoors.
Outdoor lighting is also essential. These are bulbs that you can use in your front porch or perhaps even your front or back yard. Placing them properly can make them look even nicer. They can only be used outside because they require direct sunlight to charge, something that doesn’t happen indoors. However, you can charge your bulbs outdoors and then bring them in if you like.
This use for solar power is particularly effective in developing countries. Access to electricity is not quite as widespread in these areas. Hence, unique solutions such as solar powered bulbs can be an effective way to alleviate the effects of poverty in these locales.
Access to water is one of the most essential aspects of human society. In order to gain access to water, pumps usually have to be installed. These pumps use a lot of electricity which makes the cost of using them a lot higher than they might otherwise be. This is where solar powered pumps can come in. Using specially made solar pumps, water can be transported vast distances. The volume of water that can be moved is also quite vast, as is the pressure that can be obtained.
This is particularly useful for farmers. Most farmers need lots of water to keep their crops alive. Using solar pumps they can access this water easily and without the cost that usually comes along with it. Much like with other solar innovations, the initial cost can be high. This is offset by the mid to long term savings though. Also, the boost to the agricultural sector is something that can’t be ignored either. It has the potential to grow the economy immensely.
These are by far the most common solar energy based items that people are purchasing. They can be connected to the main electrical interface of your home. Solar energy can then be used to power your home. This can facilitate being off the grid as well, and the money you would save on electricity would be truly remarkable.
Solar panels are essentially long term investments. They come with pretty hefty warranties after all. 20-25 year long warranties are extremely common. This means that purchasing solar panels can make you energy sufficient for decades at a time. Any damage not caused by you will be covered under the warranty. So you don’t have to worry about any unnecessary expenses.
These panels don’t just produce electricity. They are even more efficient at generating heat. This can be effective for colder areas. Electric heaters use a shocking amount of electricity, and gas heaters can be so expensive that using them would result in little to no savings. Hence, the use of solar power can be a highly effective way of beating the cold without using so much electricity or gas, thereby driving down costs.
Solar technology is growing rapidly. China, one of the fastest rising economies in the world, is the global leader in terms of solar power production. Their 1000 gigawatt installation capacity is quite impressive, with few other countries able to compete in this regard. Since only a small fraction of the solar energy that reaches the Earth is required to provide ample power to everyone living on the planet, investing in solar energy certainly makes a lot of sense. Some would say that this is the most obvious energy investment one can make.