While we love installing solar panels, we also love seeing the new and innovative ways others are using them! Check out some of our favourite ways solar is being put to work!
1. Solar Device Charging
From solar powered bobble heads, to solar powered battery packs, solar is a convenient way to keep charged on the go. While individuals can purchase their own personal solar powered chargers, the City of Edmonton, among other cities, also has public solar powered chargers! Want to see for yourself? Head down to the Old Strathcona Farmers Market and see if you can find them!
2. Solar Powered Cars
Solar powered cars are catching our hearts and minds! We have been predicting when cars will become solar powered for generations, in drawings of silver and glass cities and hover-cars… Now, even public centres such as the Londonderry Shopping Mall in North Edmonton are prepared! They have solar covered car ports and electric vehicle charging available for the wave of the future. Love or Hate Elon Musk, we give a mass shout-out for the surge of this technological development. Interested in your own garage charging station? Ask us!
3. Rural Development
While we are lucky enough to have energy from a grid, not all places are so lucky. Solar is providing power not only to homes and businesses in countries where electrical grids are less / un-developed, but to medical centres and schools as well. Solar energy is stored in batteries and is providing energy for rural and under-developed areas that may not otherwise access it! Among the numerous places, this solar powered shipping container is providing medical relief in Haiti.
4. Solar Military
To reduce dependence on Fossil fuels, and provide energy in any location, no matter how remote, the U.S. Military uses solar to power operations. This flexible, sheet-like solar set-up provides the flexibility, and energy needed to power operations. How great would this be for camping?
5. Solar NASA
Not impressed enough by the military’s use of solar? NASA also has been experimenting and relying on solar for years. They have investigated the use of solar in a variety of forms, but the power of solar is most popular for use in Satellites. Read more on our Solar Powered Star Wars post!
6. Mass Solar Scalability
We sometimes hear that solar is not scalable, it can not sufficiently power places or things that we love. This solar powered stadium in Taiwan illustrate not only the practical use of solar on a large scale, but also the beauty of solar in architecture. While we haven’t designed a system to look like dragon scales on a stadium (yet…) we have done some pretty cool projects too. Check them out here!
7. Clean Drinking Water
As if solar was not already attractive because of its contribution to sustainability by providing a cleaner energy source, solar can now produce water out of thin air. While these devices by Fontus create water by pulling water out of the air (powered by solar), we are imagining it’s functionality being expanded to provide clean drinking water for all!
8. Solar Lights
These every-day use of solar cells in Albertan homes make our list for exactly that reason – they are practical for homes to use every day. Whether used for lighting up your stairs or adding a little shine to your beautiful garden at night, this has been the easiest way for people to become acquainted with solar. It eliminates the need for all those unsightly cords and enables homeowners to increase the light around their home, without increasing their electricity bills!
(Tip: Remove the batteries during winter months to protect the batteries, while the solar cells would continue to function, the batteries used in these devices are not intended for our cold Canadian winters).
9. Solar Camping
Several products exist to make camping easier with solar energy. Our first tent had a solar powered light in it, adding a bit of creature-comfort in our wilderness habitat. You can also get solar powered flashlights, power-packs mentioned above, or backpacks. So, you can keep playing your music while taking that hike, play candy crush while canoeing, and find your way to the tent after the fire goes out!
10. Solar Powered Communities
Of course, our favourite are the solar powered homes, community leagues, commerical buildings, and indigenous community centres that have adopted solar. These places have gone above ‘standard’ and are reducing their environmental impact while saving money.