Taking advantage of solar energy means dedicating a significant size of your roof space to large, unwieldy solar panels, right?
The answer is, of course, no. You can buy solar panels in all sorts of sizes, ranging from a square foot or less to an entire yard-size. Of course, if you want to get all of your home power from solar energy, you’ll have to invest in a large span of panels. But if you’re looking for a smaller, cheaper place to begin your relationship with the sun, why not start by powering your personal electronics?
Several companies now offer solar power packs that are small, attractive, and portable. They’re meant for powering devices like CD and MP3 players, speakers, and cell phones. While prices can range up into the hundreds for elaborate systems, some companies like Solar Style offer small packs for as little as $27.99.
Portable solar power packs from Solar Style
How do they do it? We start with the most essential item: the photovoltaic cells that capture energy from the sun. In fact, the sun isn’t even necessary; light from any source can be converted into usable energy. Of course, the more intense the light, the more energy you will store.
The next step is to store the energy. Solar packs have an on-board battery that acts as your savings account for the energy you collect. Leave your power pack collecting light whenever you can, and save the energy for later. (But don’t turn on a houselight specifically to shine on the pack – that’s just being silly!)
Now, the only remaining step is getting that power to your electronic devices. All you need for this is the right connector. Most purchase options include some connectors for cell phones and music players. If your device has an unusual power connector, you may have to buy one separately. The point is, you can power any device this way, as long as you have the connector.
At these prices, there is no reason not to purchase a solar power pack. The devices are small and convenient, and can eliminate the need for an outlet – thus allowing us to truly enter the wireless age. In addition to convenience, these gadgets are green. Instead of using expensive electricity from the power grid, which increases carbon emissions and dependence on foreign oil, you can tap into a free, renewable energy source that already surrounds you.
Check out the websites of Solar Dyne, Radio Labs, and Solar Style for more on their products.