If you spend any amount of time researching renewable energy options such as solar power, you inevitably hear about two benefits: cost savings on utility bills and smaller carbon footprints. Such advantages are wonderful, but you may need more reasons than those to invest in solar power.
Below, we cover nine unique ways to use solar power that don’t include cutting-edge airplanes or space stations. Rather, they focus on small actions designed to enhance your everyday, sustainable lifestyle so you can take the next step in your green energy investments.
1. Become an Energy Tycoon
In some states, you can sell excess solar energy back to the utility grid. Sounds like a win-win for everyone. You save on utility costs and maybe even take a profit while the energy provider receives non-fossil-fueled power to put back into the grid.
2. Heat Your Water
Solar power often transforms light into electricity. However, with a solar water heater or rooftop collector, you can collect sunlight to heat water for your home. The collector typically augments a traditional gas or electric heating system, helping you maintain access to hot water during a prolonged cold spell or constantly changing weather.
3. Secure Your Home
Solar-powered lighting can be smart in more ways than one. Yes, it helps decrease utility costs. However, a solar-powered motion light, including the Litom Solar Security Light, reacts to people’s presence around the outside of your home. The light turns on when it detects a person and turns off in the person’s absence, increasing your home and personal security.
4. Light Up the Night
Solar power tends to receive a lot of attention inside the home, but it poses benefits outside too. Once you stake outdoor solar lights into the ground, they gather sunlight during the day and harvest it at night. The project is fairly easy to accomplish; you shouldn’t have to mess with any electrical wiring to set up most types of outdoor solar lighting.
5. Reduce Waste
In some cities, you can take advantage of solar power trashcans. Bigbelly, for example, aims to build smarter cities by creating more efficient waste collection methods. Other vendors offer green trash cans, too, hoping to decrease costs, minimize collections, and manage waste.
6. Mow the Lawn
Mowing the lawn usually requires gas or electricity. News of solar-powered lawnmowers exists, but the appliances feature a hefty price tag. You might be better off converting an existing lawnmower’s current power source to solar power via a portable battery or miniature solar array. Unfortunately, the mower won’t move on its own — it still requires your walking feet to make it up, down, and across the yard.
7. Power Your Devices
Solar power continues to use smaller and smaller components. Case in point: wearable solar technology. Some charging bricks, like the Anker PowerPort, run on sunlight and allow you to charge anything from a smartphone to a tablet. The technology is still in a formative stage, but it could lead to solar-powered smart watches and clothing.
8. Get a Little Crafty
If you would like to avoid shelling out a small fortune to hardware stores for ambient backyard lighting, make your own sun jars. The project is easy to accomplish. All it takes is a couple of supplies and a dash of imagination, and you can use them anywhere in your yard or home.
9. Lend a Helping Hand
Solar power works literal miracles in developing countries, with the We Care Suitcase serving as a premiere example. We Care’s portable solar system was originally designed for health care facilities in remote regions. However, it fulfills a secondary purpose: acting as a backup power supply in the event of a natural disaster such as a tornado, earthquake, or hurricane.
With the different uses listed above, you can incorporate solar energy into your life more creatively. Feel free to share these tips with your friends and family so you can all work together to live greener lives.