Throughout the history of mankind, we have used the sun for its light and heat. It illuminates our world in daylight hours, heats the air, and helps plants grow. Unlike fossil fuels stored in the earth, sunlight is a continuously renewable resource that is inexhaustible. Today, mankind is learning to harness solar power from the sun effectively and for a wider range of uses than ever before. This free and constantly renewable resource is environmentally friendly because it reduces our reliance on gas, oil and coal. It also reduces the number of watts and hours taken from the community’s existing electric grid for power.
Solar Panels prices compared – small units
It may take large solar panels to power today’s modern home but panels as small as five inches square can power lights, fans, communications devices and other interesting gadgets. This innovation now makes solar power portable.
Voltaic Messenger solar pack carries a 15-inch screen laptop and includes a Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery pack with three different voltage settings for storage of solar power. This item ranges in price from $199 to $279 on Amazon.com. It comes complete with a USB adapter, a car charger and nine other standard adaptor plugs in universal sizes and for common, everyday cell phones. This device is a great way to solar power all your personal electronics as it generates up to four watts of power. Imagine a Scout camping trip where kids and leaders have enough power to take their cell phones, IPods and PDAs with them.
The Voltaic Converter is a device that attaches to a larger backpack to provide power for extended outdoor use. Wire channels are placed throughout the bag for attaching headphones and other communication devices. It is available for $179 to $225 and includes all the adaptor plugs that come with the Messenger model.
The Voltaic Generator is the very first solar bag with enough power to charge a laptop. Its battery pack is custom designed to store the electricity it generates, which is enough to charge its battery within approximately five hours. The Generator then automatically delivers to the computer the voltage output needed. It will charge computers from Apple, HP, IBM, Dell and Panasonic. You may also get the available adapter for a Mac Book. Its price starts at around $500.
The Solar Panel Briefcaseis convenient to set up and position because of its pop-out leg stands. The Briefcase provides electric power for small appliances and lights and for recharging personal communication devices. Its price ranges from $400 to $800. The portable Scout 150 has 1150 watt hours of recharging power. This is a great item for a camping trip as it recharges lights, small appliances and even CPAP machines, so those with sleep apnea can go too. These types of solar panels prices range from $ 420 and up.
SOLAR PANEL LIGHTING CAN BE PRACTICAL OR WHIMSICAL
Solar landscape lighting is much easier to install than traditional wired lights. No wires have to be run into the house and each lighting unit is self-contained. You may use them to line the sidewalk or a flower bed. Solar fence lights have a poly-crystal solar panel to charge their super bright LED white lights. These can even be mounted on trees in a yard area that needs some light. Solar lights are also used as pole lights and backyard spotlights. All of the solar panel lights mentioned here cost anywhere from $12 to $70.
Solar string hand-blown glass lights have six lights on a twenty-five foot long string. They are gorgeous wrapped around an arch or arbor in the yard, around trees and on the railing of the deck. They come on at dusk and glow for about six to eight hours then shut off at dawn.
LED solar powered security outdoor motion detector lights turn on automatically when any motion within a 190-foot range turns them on. These helpfully light up entries, sidewalks and driveways. They turn off away after a pre-programmed amount of time. They are as bright as a 20-watt bulb.
The LED camping light with its line of ten LED bulbs bends so it can be secured anywhere it needs to be placed. The LED bulbs last over 20,000 hours and the light only uses one watt of power in an hour.
INNOVATIVE USES OF SMALL SOLAR PANELS ABOUND
There is solar owl decoy on the market with a spinning, rotating head. It is used in gardens and yards as a mechanical scarecrow to scare away predator animals. Solar rainbow wind chimes have a glass orb containing an LED light which comes on at dusk at changes it glowing color every few seconds. Solar panels are used in fountains to power their water pumps.
A portable speaker system for iPods, MP3 players and radios attaches to a bike or stroller or belt for up to fifteen hours of great sound. Solar panel car battery chargers, cell phone chargers, camera battery charges, solar camping lamps and AM/FM radios are all on the market.
Besides heating and cooling an entire house, smaller solar panels are used to power attic fans, warm the water in in-ground swimming pools, shed and barn lights and automatic gate openers and closers. Energy efficient solar attic fans even qualify for the 30% Federal Income tax credit.
Solar energy carries no risk to people or the environment. It does not deplete the earth’s natural resources. Solar panels prices are coming down drastically and for home use there are now many responsible ways to use renewable energy wisely.