How to Take Advantage of Solar Energy Tech (on the Cheap)
By Victoria Figueiredo
As much as most people agree that we should all look to the Sun as a source of clean energy, we’re not all Elon Musk-level rich. How can you incorporate solar panels into your daily life without dealing with the cost of installing full-sized panels onto your roof? Easy! Think smaller.
More things than you think are already being manufactured with solar panels as an alternative power source. Spotlights, yard lights, those little dancing flowers you see on people’s dashboards all the time, even roof tiles are being made to power your home via sunlight thanks to the inventiveness of companies like Tesla. Now that it’s summer, that kind of tech can even help you make the most of your outdoor living spaces! Below is a list of solar-powered gadgets you can use to take your home into the future without racking up your electric bill:
Solar powered yard lights are probably the easiest way to add style, comfort, visibility, and whimsy to your back yard. Models like the one pictured charge all day, turn on at dusk, and stay on until dawn. You don’t even have to flip a switch or worry about turning anything off! The best part is how easy these kinds of lights are to install – just stake them into the ground and let ‘em charge up.
2. Patio Umbrellas
Umbrellas are summer time multi-taskers. Too much sun? Open it up! Starting to drizzle? The perfect shelter to wait out that passing shower. Umbrellas like the one above, which have solar-powered lights, do double duty by working at night as well as during the day! Open or closed, it’ll charge up all day and be ready for your barbecue under the stars.
3. String Lights
Solar powered string lights are the perfect set-it-and-forget-it touch to your patio, yard, trellis, trees – pretty much wherever you want some nice warm glow! This weather resistant variety comes with two solar panels attached to clips, so installation is as easy as deciding where you want to put the lights up. Most solar powered string lights also come with a light sensor that turns the lights off during the day and on for eight hours at night – plenty of time to enjoy your newly magical back yard. The best part of it all? Since they’re not plugged in, they’re not using up electricity. They’ll pay for themselves by your next billing cycle!
Think you’re limited to lights when it comes to solar powered gadgets? Think again, friend. You can add relaxing Zen garden vibes to your yard with solar powered fountains, too! Fountains like this one have solar panels that can still collect energy from under water, making them an interesting, Earth-friendly, and pain-free way to decorate your garden. No wiring/plumbing involved? Sign me up.
Do you feel like your space is missing a hanging fish lantern? Perhaps a large clam that provides mood lighting? Still don’t want to plug them into your home? No problem! Essentially anything you’re considering adding to your landscaping, interior design, man cave, lady shed, etc. comes in a solar-powered variety. You just have to do a little digging! We found all these items on Wayfair and you can click the images to purchase them, but there are endless vendors (online and IRL) that can make all your sunlight-fueled dreams come true. Take a look and prepare to be amazed!