October 01, 2006
| by EH Staff
Lining your roof with solar panels may be expensive, but it can save you cash in the long run. Not only do you not have to pay for energy from the sun, many states have rebates and tax incentives that can offset some of the cost of home solar equipment. Moreover, a “green” house may be attractive to homebuyers and boost your home’s resale price. In the end, you just can’t put a price on the future of our planet.
Solar Solutions for the Everyman
While most people lack the means for putting up solar panels on their roofs, smaller-scale solutions exist that also reap the economic and environmental benefits of solar power. Nowadays, solar-powered products span a wide spectrum, such as solar-powered lights and power chargers for cell phones, digital audio players, and more.
Solar-power products also bring convenience, simplicity and flexibility to your life. Gadgets like solar yard lights are set-it-and-forget-it products; you simply take it out of the box, stick it into the ground, and never worry about it again. Most solar products are easy to install, requiring no power cables or wiring. The lack of power wires also adds convenience and safety. Now you no longer need to run wires through your garden to the solar-powered yard lights or look for a power socket while camping or spending a day at the beach.
Solar cells require no moving parts, helping solar-powered devices run silent. Like a hybrid car, having less moving parts means less overall maintenance and thus a longer-lasting product.
The Downside of Solar Power
Even as technology advancements have jumped by leaps and bounds, we still do not possess the ability to control the sun. Solar power depends entirely on the whim of the sun and thus it has a major downside: inconsistency. Whether environmental, like clouds/smog/solar eclipse, or man-made, buildings/tinted windows, obstacles that block out the sun will render any solar-powered device powerless. So if you live under the canopies of the Amazon rainforest or in the long winter nights of Iceland where you get only four hours of daylight a day, solar power will not likely be an option.
Where to Start with Solar Devices
Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or not, solar-powered devices offer a variety of simple and inexpensive options. Below we’ll take a look at affordable options that virtually anyone can install and use.
- Solar Powered Lantern - Powered by the sun and requiring no power wires, just stick the waterproof Stainless-Steel Solar-Powered Lantern along the walkway to the front door of your house to provide a well-lit and welcome path for your guests. A photo sensor turns the light on at dusk and off at sunrise, so you only have to flip the switch to “on” once. The lantern will stay lit up to eight hours on a full charge and will last for two years.
- Solar Powered Address Light[ - Tired of missing important packages and visitors because no one can read your address number after dark? On the wall or on a stake, the Solar-Powered House Address Lights easily installs with a couple of screws. The solar-powered numbers can function in rain or cold. Light sensors regulate the light and, with just four hours of sunlight, the rechargeable battery will power the sign for three full nights. A detachable solar panel lets you get maximum solar exposure up to eight feet away.
- Solar Powered Floodlight - Install an outdoor motion-detecting floodlight without any professional assistance. The Solar-Powered Floodlight installs easily in minutes. A 14-foot cable between the solar panel and the light lets you place the security light where you need it while allowing the solar panel to be installed facing the sun for maximum exposure. An integrated photocell maximizes battery life by only turning on when dark.
- Solar Powered Pool Purifier - Too much chlorine in your pool can cause health problems. Use the solar pool purifier to keep your swimming hole healthy and clean by cutting chlorine usage by 80 percent. Drop the device into the water and it will start to release mineral ions into the water to halt the growth of algae and other microorganisms. Completely safe and non-toxic, the Pool Purifier will produce ion levels sufficient for pool purification within two weeks. The purifier can handle pools up to 40,000 gallons. The only maintenance is cleaning the mineral electrode every couple of weeks with a simple wash, and replacement of the electrodes every one to two years.
- 2.4GHz Solar Security Camera - The 2.4GHz Solar Color Security Camera wirelessly transmits a video/audio signal. It does not require a plug for the camera. The camera extends battery life by only activating when the camera’s motion sensor detects motion (up to 26-ft away). The DC-powered receiver can be hooked up to a television, time-lapsed VCR or any video monitor up to 246-feet from the camera.