7 Ways Solar Energy Can Help Power Your New Year

Sun in the sky image by Andreas Wienemann via Flickr Creative Commons license.

Sun in the sky image by Andreas Wienemann via Flickr Creative Commons license.

Happy New Year to you and yours! As you ring in the new year, hopefully some of your resolutions or changes you plan to make in 2016 involve lowering your environmental footprint. Many people are well-aware the future of energy lies in renewables like solar, wind, hydrokinetic and other sustainable power sources. So, this new year, why not work on weaning yourself off of less eco-friendly power options by seeing how many areas of your life you can power with renewables like solar. Here are eight ways solar energy can help power your new year:

1. Recharge Electronic Devices:

Electronic devices no longer need to be plugged into wall sockets in order to recharge. With solar charging options, like Solartab, you can charge your cell phone, tablet or any other mobile device using only the power of the sun. What makes it even better is you can charge your devices no matter where you are in the world. If you are out in the forest, at the beach, on a hike, or having a picnic in a remote location, no problem. As long as the sun in shining, you can go ahead and charge your device.

Solartab image via Solartab Pinterest

Solartab image via Solartab Pinterest

2. Charge Your Vehicles

Solar can also be used to charge your vehicle. E&T brought to our attention a smart home energy management system which has been developed to allow homeowners to charge their vehicle directly from the solar panels on the roof of their homes. In addition, Gizmag highlighted a research discovery wherein tiny solar cells could soon allow drivers to charge their electric vehicle while on the road. This could mean the need for a massive, nationwide infrastructure and network of charging stations may end up being null and void.

3. Heat Water for Pool or Home

For many years, the sun has been an environmentally-friendly way for homeowners to heat the water in their swimming pools and homes. Solar water heating systems are relatively inexpensive, yet Energy.gov reports solar pool heating can really be one of the most cost-effective uses of solar energy, depending on where your home is located. If you are looking for a simple way to start tapping into the power of the sun, water heating may be a viable option in the new year.

Swimming pool image by Tara McFatridge/Biofriendly Corporation

Swimming pool image by Tara McFatridge/Biofriendly Corporation

4. Power a Home or Office

For those of you who do own homes, have retail businesses or own office space, you may want to consider using solar power as the primary sources of energy for these locales. Rooftop solar panels can help power a home, keep energy costs down and allow you to lower your environmental footprint. In some cases, you may even end up generating more energy than your house can use. If so, you could always sell the excess power to your local utility provider.

Gizmag also recently highlighted a home which is reportedly “the first in the world to run on solar powered hydrogen energy storage.” This new home development is designed to take generated energy, not immediately usable, convert it to hydrogen and then allow its use at a later date. Talk about making good use of solar power.

5. Cook food

Although you may not realize it, the sun can also be used to cook food. Instead of using wood or charcoal to start a fire and then cooking your food over the open flame, a solar oven can heat your food completely and allow you to have a hot meal wherever your travels may take you. Solar ovens are extremely beneficial in developing communities. As Treehugger points out, it’s an eco-friendly option that doesn’t require unsustainable energy sources, nor does it produce harmful toxins which people might ingest.

6. Mow Your Lawn

Sick and tired of generating pollution and inhaling toxic fumes every time you want to mow your lawn? Don’t want to exert the effort required to use a push mower? Well, we have another option. How about using the sun to power your motor? It has much less of an impact on the environment, it’s cleaner and it’s greener. In fact, Discovery even has a way for you to convert your gas lawn mower to a solar-powered lawn mower. A simple change, but it will make a difference.

7. Power Outdoor Lights

Aside from solar electronic device charging, this is probably one of easiest ways for you to incorporate solar energy in your efforts to power the new year: solar-powered outdoor lights. Homeowners can go small with individual solar lights placed around the garden or along an outdoor path. Larger buildings, corporate centers and cities may be interested in connecting their outdoor lighting to an energy-saving, solar-powered system like this one featured by American City & County.

solar garden lamp

Garden solar lamp image by Dan4th Nicholas via Flickr Creative Commons.

What’s so wonderful about solar, is the sun will not cease to shine. This gives you an unending source of renewable energy from which you can power your day-to-day life. Making use of solar, wind, hydrokinetic and other renewables means your 2016 is bound to be greener and more biofriendly.

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