Solar power has long been touted as one of the big money saving ideas for the future of home energy. But let’s not delve too deeply into what could be and take a look at 9 of the most unusual ways solar panels are being used today.
Keeping a cool head
It’s a scorching summers day. The sun beats down on your head. Beads of sweat slowly ooze from your forehead and meet to form a trickle that stings your eyes. Mopping your brow isn’t enough. Cue the solar powered fan baseball cap!
A solar panel is used to drive a small fan which pushes air through a hole in the peak. Bye bye rivers of sweat, hello sun powered cooing breeze. Your hands may be pruning after hours bathing in your own body fluids but your head will be cooler than the supermarket freezer aisle.
A new twist on photosynthesis
Plants need sunlight. Green fingered readers will know that plants use the ultimate form of solar power to produce life. Evolution has dictated this process would require a place in the sun for your chlorophyl powered oxygen generators. Technology has changed the game.
In an evolutionary twist, the Solight replaces the need for your plants to ever see the light of day again. The device captures sunlight during the day and stores it in a battery. Once fully charged, all you need to do is place it over your plants and flowers and unleash its life giving rays.
360 coverage for your hanging baskets
Ideally, your pot plants need to get sunlight from all angles. Neglect any one part and the leaves will soon fall away and die. Is it really an effort to give your green friends some loving care and attention? If the thought of the physical effort involved makes you go weak at the knees you need some help.
If the Babylonians were still around, the garden centres of the UK would be doing a roaring trade in RotoBaskets! This hanging basket rotator uses the power to the sun to spin your Bizzy Lizzies through 360 degrees. My green fingered Great Grandfather would turn in his grave!
Eco friendly cinema
This one takes me way back to my youthful days. Back row seats with a new girlfriend watching the latest blockbuster. Trails of smoke rising through the light cast by the projector as the Pearl and Dean adverts blared into life. Those days are still here (minus the smoke, of course) but with a new angle: solar powered movies.
Will solar powered, mobile cinemas be the wave of the future? Probably not if they don’t expand from only eight seats! That said, it’s a great idea that shows how an entire industry could be powered by simply harnessing the suns rays.
Busy bees get a helping hand
Even bees feel the heat of a blazing summers day. Sadly, their hives don’t have air conditioning and solar-powered baseball caps are simply too big for them. When the temperature goes up the bees go down, quite literally. By congregating in the bottom of the hive and fluttering their wings they drive cool air through the hive. Temperatures come down but productivity is lost and honey production dips.
To solve this problem, thermostatically controlled coolers are attached to the hive. Each cooler is powered by solar panels and, as temperatures hit the preset temperature, the fans kick in. Fewer bees fanning cool air through the hive means more honey for you, me and Paddington Bear.
Dumpster divers are in for a shock
Identity theft is a big problem. A simple mistake like not shredding your personal details could result in your bank account being emptied or worse. The idea of protecting your rubbish with CCTV, lighting systems and an electronic locking system seems way over the top…
…welcome to the future. It’s not quite Robocop but the Solar Energy Enclosed Dumpster System (SEEDS) is nearly as good as having a cybernetic law enforcer guarding your waste.
Solar powered fashion for your ears
Fashion is big business. Environmentally friendly gadgets are even bigger business. What about eco-friendly jewellery? We have no end of bio-degradable shopping bags, hemp clothes and shoes made from old tyres but jewellery is the new wave.
Showing off your green credentials can only be a good thing. Showing off your recycled solar panel bits in the form of earrings, cuff links, rings other fine jewellery is even better.
Noah didn’t see this one coming
According to the Bible, the animals went in two by two. About 150 days later, the rain water receded, they all disembarked and repopulated the world. That was then and this is now. The solar ark was most definitely not designed to carry passengers of any shape or form.
Built in Japan by Sanyo, the solar ark is an iconic symbol of the future potential of clean energy. Consisting of over 5,000 solar panels, the ark pumps out an astounding 630KW of power and even houses a solar museum inside it.
What is the magnetic allure of magnifying glasses, sunlight and ants? How many of these highly organised insects have died in a skittering blaze of glory? Probably too many. Fortunately, the solar furnace wasn’t designed as an antidote to infestation!
Located in France, the Solar Furnace consists of a curved array of mirrors that act as a parabolic reflector. Light is reflected by the mirrors into a focal point. Perfect for incinerating waste or giant, killer ants from the B movie ‘THEM’.