10 Cool Solar Products You Probably Don't Know About

Outdoor solar panel


More and more people are going green by using solar energy. The main form of solar energy seen today is in electricity powered by solar panels, but there are tons of more solar-powered products. Solar energy is an amazing resource. It can power devices that range from a phone to a trashcan and even ventilate a building. Solar-powered products eliminate the need to replace batteries, reduce the amount of fossil fuels used, and reduce the amount of CO2 released into the air. Solar energy is the pathway to a greener, cleaner Earth.


Green trashcans

BigBelly is a 100% solar-powered trashcan that compacts garbage to maximize capacity in hopes of minimizing the use of fossil fuels. The bin uses a solar panel to charge a battery that powers the internal compactor. Customers sign in to the CLEAN Management console to see which bins are full and how much has been collected. The thought is that if more trash is collected at once when the bin is actually full, there will be less garbage collections overall, thus resulting in less fossil fuels being used by garbage trucks. This is a great idea because not only does it use a natural resource to the greatest advantage, it saves a natural resource as well. For more information about BigBelly please visit their website.


Solar pumps

Solar-powered pumps also use a natural resource to save a natural resource. They use solar panels to operate water pumps rather than use grid electricity or diesel.


Solar chimneys

Solar chimneys are unique because they use a different type of solar energy to operate. They use hot air rather than photovoltaic solar panels. For example, solar chimneys are raised at least 6 feet off the ground to allow the air beneath to be warmed by the sun’s rays. The hot air moves up the chimney and passes through turbines that power a generator. Solar chimneys are useful because they are a way of providing natural ventilation of buildings. This reduces the amount of carbon dioxide and the energy used by air conditioning.


Solar balloons

Solar balloons do not use turbines to power a generator, but they do use hot air to give buoyancy. They are similar to hot air balloons, but use hot air warmed by the sun rather than a flame. The main advantage to solar chimneys and solar balloons is that sunlight isn’t necessarily required, just hot air. This means that they can still function after the sun goes down as long as the air inside is warmer than the air outside. I would love to go for a ride in a solar balloon on a warm summer night.


Solar technology

Technology is a huge part of today’s world. Logitech has created solar-powered keyboards that wirelessly connect to computers with an amazing battery life. The majority of today’s youth is the proud owner of a cell phone, tablet, iPod, laptop, etc. Battery life of any one of these devices runs out very quickly. I, for one, am constantly charging my phone. Luckily, I live in a world where solar backpacks, solar cell phone chargers, and solar laptops exist. These packs and devices have solar panels on the outside that convert solar energy into the electrical energy that is used to charge a device. It is a great investment for all the times an electrical outlet is not nearby. You can buy solar backpacks and phone chargers at EarthtechProducts and solar laptops from the SOL store.


Strawberry tree

The citizens of Serbia are extremely lucky to have a Strawberry Tree. The tree does not grow fruit, but rather is a charging station for mobile devices. Just like the backpacks and phone chargers aforementioned, the Strawberry Tree uses solar panels to charge the devices. I know that charging stations in the States exist, but a solar-powered charging station is even better!


Solar Radios

Radios are another form of technology that is still a huge part of today’s society. I have a radio that can be plugged into an electrical outlet or uses battery power. While this has its advantages, solar-powered radios have an even greater advantage because the only energy source required is the sun. These are great because not only can I listen to one while relaxing at the beach on a sunny day, but also are extremely helpful in countries that have limited access to power. The radio is their source of news and information. Solar radios are available from Ambient Weather.