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No solar panels? No problem! Many of us want to jump on the renewable energy train but don’t have the resources for a full solar panel installation at home. In this post, we’ll help you identify some of the best solar-powered accessories out there to inject sustainability into your day-to-day.
There’s a good reason solar panel usage is on the rise. Residential solar panels provide a variety of benefits, from cutting back on fossil fuels to increasing the value of your home. Perhaps most importantly, solar energy costs only half the price of traditional energy. Thus saving you as much as $30,000 over the lifetime of a solar power installation. If you want to learn more about solar panels, check out our posts on installing solar panels and current trends.
Of course, there’s one big problem with installing solar panels. While they might more than make up for it over time, the initial price of installation can be prohibitively expensive. Even with a variety of tax cuts and rebates associated with solar panels, a standard installation can still easily cost $14,000. If you’re able to afford the investment, then great! But if not, or if you are renting an apartment or home, we’re happy to tell you that there are still plenty of ways you can harness the power of the sun on a smaller scale.
In this article, we present five of the best solar-powered accessories to go green everyday. These gadgets cover a wide variety of applications. And, best of all, none of them require any additional power beyond what they are able to generate themselves through their own built-in solar cells.
Factors to Look for to ID Best Solar-Powered Accessories
If you’re on the lookout for solar-powered accessories, there are certainly plenty out there for you to find. However, they aren’t all created equal. Here are three factors you’ll generally want to keep in mind when deciding which solar-powered accessories are the right fit for you.
The first and perhaps most important factor to consider is price. Solar-powered tools come in all shapes and sizes. All of them are almost certainly cheaper than a full complement of solar panels. But some can still cost a pretty penny. Unfortunately, a solar-powered version of a standard household fixture like a light or grill is likely to be more expensive than normal due to the specialized technology. Still, in addition to a reduced environmental footprint, you can weigh the increased upfront price tag against the savings to your power bill and ease of use that comes from no longer having to worry about batteries or fuel.
Some solar-powered accessories are made to be easily portable so you can take them with you into environments where electricity might be harder to come by. Others are clearly designed to be set up and remain stationary. So consider your specific needs. A solar-powered generator for camping should look different from one you’re buying to take some of the load off around the house.
Lastly, make sure you consider how much power a particular device actually generates. Some solar-powered chargers are made to power a refrigerator while others have only enough juice for a cell phone. Many other accessories feature solar panels designed solely to keep them operating and not to power anything else at all. Consider exactly what kind of power coverage you are looking for so you can choose accordingly. Along those lines, make sure you take into account things like charge time or wattage. If you need something that will last for eight hours on a single charge, don’t make the mistake of purchasing something that will only give you four.
The Five Best Solar-Powered Accessories for Your Home
So, with all those factors in mind, which solar-powered accessories are right for you? If you want to skip the hassle of searching on your own, we’ve compiled a list of five of the best solar-powered accessories to cover a wide range of potential applications. We believe each of these recommended accessories offers a unique value, potentially saving you time, money, and headache.
1. The Best Solar-Powered Light: URPOWER Solar Lights
There are a wide array of solar-powered outdoor lights you might consider purchasing. These range from ambient or decorative lights such as lanterns or string lights, to full spotlights or even replacement street lamps. The set of lights selected here are a good all-around choice for providing home security lighting in your yard. This 4-pack is highly affordable. And requiring only 6-8 hours to reach a full charge, they should always be available when you need them. Their automated switch, which activates the lights only upon motion detection, further prolongs their charge life. Additionally, these lights can withstand the elements. They are rated to last at least 5 years before they need to be replaced.
As with all solar-powered lights, make sure that you take careful consideration of their location. For maximum efficiency, you’ll need to place them in locations where they receive plenty of direct sunlight. If that won’t be possible—such as because of a shady yard or perpetually overcast weather—then you may need to consider other solutions, such as getting a remote photovoltaic panel. These basically function as miniature solar panels, allowing you to place them in a better positioned spot such as on the roof and then hook them up to power your other accessories.
2. The Best Solar-Powered Keyboard: Logitech K750 Wireless
This next device may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of solar power, but it’s certainly a useful one. While your keyboard is far from the most energy-hungry component of your PC, every little bit adds up. Whenever you’re on your computer, your keyboard is drawing power. So, why not cut that consistent drain out of your power bill? This solar-powered keyboard is capable of working in complete darkness for up to 3 months per full charge. If you’re wondering how a keyboard inside your house will get enough sunlight to charge up in the first place, don’t worry. It’s capable of charging off standard lights as well! It’s a bit pricier than your average keyboard, but it is also completely wireless, allowing for greater ease of use away from your desk.
3. The Best Solar-Powered Backpack: Voltaic Systems OffGrid
Do you spend a lot of time camping or travelling out where you don’t have easy access to power outlets? Then consider picking up this solar-powered backpack. Even when you don’t need any additional functionality, it offers an ergonomic storage solution with rugged fabric made to last. Of course, its main selling point is the inclusion of solar panels capable of recharging small electronics, such as a cell phone, in a matter of hours. If your device charges via USB, it should be fair game with this backpack. It even comes with a battery so you can save up charge to use later when it’s no longer sunny. Its price point might seem a bit steep compared to standard backpacks. But it offers a great deal of portable power that you can use not only around the house or yard, but also wherever life takes you.
4. The Best Solar-Powered Generator: SUAOKI Solar Charger 60W
Looking for a way to quickly juice up your devices on the go? This solar charger offers just the solution. For a competitive price tag, this portable solar panel array will easily charge any USB device, such as your phone, tablet, or GPS. It’s even capable of charging two devices simultaneously. It might not be quite as convenient as the solar backpack above. But you can easily fold it up when not in use for maximum portability. Perfect for recharging devices while camping, it’s also handy in case of a temporary power outage. Or even just to power a speaker or other electronic device while relaxing out on the porch!
If you’re looking to maximize its usefulness, you might also consider picking up its companion, the SUAOKI Portable Power Station. While the solar charger is great in a pinch, using it in conjunction with this similarly priced power station allows you store a good deal of energy for later in its 150Wh battery. And weighing only three pounds, it also doesn’t detract too much from the overall portability of the system. The power station along with the solar charger can be a handy resource in an emergency, or just a convenient way to prolong your solar usage.
5. The Best Solar-Powered Speaker: ABFOCE Solar Bluetooth Speaker
Solar-powered speakers offer a way for you to continue listening to music or other audio without fear of running a power cord or having access to an outlet to recharge. Great for camping, they can also save you a bit of power around the house. Not to mention removing the hassle of last-minute manual recharging! This particular speaker offers great value. And depending on the amount of sunlight present, speakers like this one can typically take 5-10 hours to charge completely. That single charge, however, provides over 60 hours of playtime. The speaker can charge faster than its power usage. So you can conceivably have your speaker playing almost nonstop without ever having to worry about remembering to charge it.
With any speaker, you should also consider other factors like its audio quality or durability. Thankfully, this speaker’s solar panels do little to detract from the robustness of its sound. It’s also rated for heavy outdoor use, with an IPX6 Waterproof rating. Since it operates via Bluetooth, you don’t need any cords! Any device with Bluetooth can simply connect wirelessly, and you’re ready to start playing.
Bring the Sun With You Wherever You Go
These are just a few of the best solar-powered accessories out there. There are plenty of other great solar-powered gadgets that can meet your specific needs. From solar-powered security cameras to solar-powered hats! If you’re on the lookout for your own accessories, remember to vet them carefully. Make sure what you’re getting won’t surprise or disappoint you. And if any of these five devices catch your fancy, you can rest easy knowing they’ll offer you the performance you deserve.
Picking up such accessories is just one of the many ways you can cut your electricity costs and contribute to a greener world. There are plenty of other energy-saving gadgets you might consider introducing around the house. Or maybe you’re keen on DIY adjustments you can make to cut down on power sinks like phantom loads. To make sure you’re doing everything you can to save money while boosting your energy efficiency, consider subscribing to our blog so you can get all our latest content right to your inbox on the first of every month!