Solar powered technology is wowing people across the world, especially as renewable energy sources are now a preferred choice for many.
Advances in technology are providing us with better battery options in the solar space and we’re seeing solar cells being used in things other than rooftop panels. As a result, we’re seeing solar energy being used in some innovative and groundbreaking ways.
Although some new additions to the solar scene won’t be accessible for all, such as the solar powered plane, there are some nifty gadgets on the market, which would be easily incorporated into our everyday lives, and it’s a sign that the way we’re thinking about solar and its capabilities is changing.
5 solar powered products we want
Here are five solar powered products we’re excited to try:
1. Solar powered jackets
International designers such as Tommy Hilfiger have used solar panels in their designs to combat a modern day problem – flat phone batteries! Recognising the need for people to have power on the move, the Hilfiger jackets1 have solar panels on the back which charge a battery located in a front pocket. The battery powers a double USB port so the wearer can charge two USB-friendly devices at once, as they go about their day; needing to never fear a flat battery on their phone or device again
2. Solar powered bikes
Electric bikes are a popular choice for many cyclists looking for a slightly more leisurely ride, and like many everyday gadgets solar power is having an effect on product development. Certain electric bike batteries can now be charged using solar energy. Matthew Timmins, Mosman, WA, develops and sells solar powered bike batteries2 which can be used to convert a normal pedal bike into an electric bike. The lithium-ion battery can be plugged into a household socket to charge, or can be charged via a small module which the rider leaves at home to charge in the day.
“We’ve been selling the bike batteries since 2009,” says Matthew, “and we’re constantly testing new motors and researching better battery and solar systems.”
“People are quite surprised that you can get around 30 km from one charge – further if you were also pedalling. They’re a joy to ride with and ideal for everyday commuting.”
3. Solar panelled backpacks
If a Tommy Hilfiger jacket isn’t in your price range, you could consider something a little more accessible such as a solar panelled backpack3 – surely the perfect travel or beach accessory. There’s a few companies experimenting in this space, and products differ, but the basic method uses solar panels on the front of the backpack to capture the sun and have a small battery inside the bag which stores the power generated and can be plugged in to your electronic devices.
4. Solar panelled tents
Another travel related solution is the solar powered tent4, which takes camping trips to a luxury level. With these tents, glamping could be a more appropriate term.
The inspiration for a solar panelled tent is thought to have come from the UK’s iconic music festival Glastonbury. It was created partly with the aim to allow festival goers to recharge their electronic devices throughout the four-day music festival, but larger plans look at the tent producing enough energy to power small appliances and produce light for the tent itself.
5. Solar powered lawnmowers
It’s genius. Imagine… it’s a hot day, the sun’s shining and everyone wants to be outside – one problem… the lawn is a mess. The last thing you want to do is spend the next hour or two sweating over the lawn. This solar powered lawnmower5 is the perfect solution. It’s been likened to an electric cordless vacuum, and for good reason. While you sit back with a cool drink, this does all the work, and get’s powered by the sun. When the battery isn’t generating enough power from solar energy, it will return to a docking station and charge from mains power. Isn’t technology wonderful?
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