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Blog Post Monday 09 January 2017

10 of Our Favourite Solar Powered Inventions

10 of Our Favourite Solar Powered Inventions

As scientists seek alternative ways to use sustainable energy, we’re seeing more and more incredible inventions that utilise solar energy for their power. From the humble light bulb to homeless shelters, it’s possible to power all kinds of things simply by harnessing energy from the sun and create items that have the power to become an indispensable part of our lives. Here’s our 10 favourite solar powered inventions.

 

1. Keep your mobile charged on the run with a solar plug socket

Solar window socket

Image via Yanko Design

Hands up, who’s been caught out by a dead phone battery when you’re nowhere near a socket? The solar plug socket uses solar panels to absorb radiation from the sun and store electricity, so you can simply plug in your charger and top up your battery wherever you happen to be. One side of the socket has a suction cup so that you can attach it to glass and don’t have to hold it while your phone charges. Availability and price of this socket is yet to be announced, but if it becomes available, it will certainly be a game changer when it comes to electricity. 


2. Cook on the go with a portable solar kitchen

If you enjoy heading outdoors and cooking up a feast, you’ll love the portable solar cooker, which uses energy from the sun to achieve temperatures of up to 290 oC. This means you’re able to cook literally whatever you like within 20 minutes, whether you prefer to boil, fry or bake. 


3. Become a digital nomad with a portable solar computer

Solar powered laptop

There’s no need to connect to a power socket when you’ve got a solar powered computer. Developed to improve education in developing countries, it also comes in very handy if you’re a digital nomad. Surprisingly affordable, the laptop only takes two hours of charging to deliver eight to 10 hours of use, plus it’s also waterproof.


4. Never miss a photo opportunity again with a solar camera strap

We’ve become such a snap-happy generation that a dead camera battery can cause major distress. However, this is now a problem of the past thanks to the clever solar camera strap that simply plugs into your camera’s DC-in socket. You’ll need to keep it in strong sunlight for the best results.


5. Hit the road with a solar backpack

Solar powered backpack

Image via Lumos

Never again will your phone or tablet battery run down while you’re travelling if you pick up a solar backpack. As long as there’s some sunlight, it will generate enough power to keep you connected. There are many different solar backpacks available, including the Unplug Solar Backpack which  comes with a wide range of mobile phone connectors for different models.


6. Or take an urban solar bag to the office

Just because you’re not a backpacker, you don’t have to miss out on solar technology thanks to doctoral student Joe Hynek from The State University of Iowa’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. The outside of his Power Purse is covered with enough solar panels to charge smartphones, mp3 players and other small devices with just 3 hours of exposure to the sun.


7. Now the sun can cool us down with solar air conditioning

Air conditioning is one of the most significant costs to Australian households. But the Inverter Solar Air Conditioning system uses a combination of solar power and mains electricity, effectively reducing operating costs by up to 97% during daylight hours. 


8. Get the message across with a solar powered billboard

Solar Powered Billboard

Image via This Is not Advertising

First introduced in South Africa in 2007, the solar powered billboard not only got the message across in an eco-friendly way, but it was able to generate enough energy to power the kitchen of the local school. Created by NEDbank, this invention helped to feed 1100 hungry children.


9. Helping the homeless with solar powered shelters

A group of teenagers from Seattle got together to create a number of small shelters for the homeless in their neighbourhood. Each unit had a solar powered roof which created enough energy for the occupants to have light and warm water, and the shelter was also equipped with a kitchen and a composting toilet.


10. Power the neighbourhood with solar powered bike paths

Solar powered bike path

Image via SolarRoad Netherlands

We all know how much the Dutch love their bikes, so it was no surprise when one Dutch town, Krommenie, decided to add an extra element to one of its bike lanes. Solar panels were embedded inside tempered glass along the bike lane for a distance of 328 feet, turning the whole path into an energy generator. The SolaRoad performed even better than had been predicted, generating almost 10,000 kilowatts of power, which is capable of running three homes for a whole year. It’s hoped that as the technology progresses, the power harnessed can be used to power street lighting, traffic lights, and maybe even electric cars.


We’re only limited by our imagination

From solar powered palm trees in Dubai to a solar powered footbridge in Brisbane, as long as we can harness the power of the sun, there’ll be something that can benefit from solar energy. If you are harnessing the sun’s power on your roof, Click Energy can help you make the most out of your rooftop investment by offering a range market-leading solar energy plans. Find out more here