As the performance of solar energy goes up and prices come down, clean, pure solar power is giving us access to renewable energy in our homes and gardens, while cycling, and even while camping.
Hopefully, you've already looked into 7 Ways to be Energy Smart During Summer 2018.
We’ve put together a list of the coolest solar gadgets to help your home reduce its reliance on power from the grid, or keep it green while you’re on the go.
Solar Panel Window Blinds
Savvy startup SolarGaps has created an innovative series of solar-panel-powered window blinds that not only help you slash your electricity bill but also help the environment.
SolarGaps blinds automatically follow the sun as it moves across the sky during the day and positions their solar collectors to optimise the angles for generating solar energy.
You can track performance or adjust the angle via the mobile app on your smartphone. Blinds can also work without any supervision: just pre-set the program and relax.
SolarGaps can generate up to 150 watts of power for every 10 square feet of a window covered. This is sufficient energy to power around 30 LED light bulbs.
The innovative home gadget provides shade cooling interiors and potentially reducing air conditioning costs while also generating solar energy.
Available through an Indiegogo campaign, these blinds are simple to install, durable, and have a 25-year lifespan thanks to their aluminium construction.
By harnessing these blinds, you can produce renewable energy and can be selling your surplus generated power back to the grid in no time.
Alternatively, you can store your excess power for later use.
Price: $280 - $6080.
A Smart Lock Powered by the Sun
As the Internet of Things (here is a simple explanation of IoT) becomes an integral part of our digital lifestyles, it is only natural that the IoT would go renewable.
Recently, Brinks (a subsidiary of the hardware manufacturer Hampton Products) announced that it is opening up pre-orders for its new Array Smart Deadbolt. Array is a clever heavy-duty lock you can control via an app on your smartphone.
In contrast to many first-generation smart locks, a proprietary lithium polymer battery powers Array. This battery is connected to an onboard solar panel, enabling Array to be powered by direct sunlight.
Naturally, you can still charge its battery the usual way if your lock is located in the shade.
Remote locking and unlocking are done via an intuitive, easy-to-use app. The lock also includes a touchpad for those homeowners who aren't comfortable using their smartphone, as well as a conventional key.
A Robot for Hassle-Free Gardening
With the booming popularity of home-grown vegetables, many homeowners dream about having their own backyard veggie patch but just can’t find the time for one.
For newcomers, the complexity of gardening can appear daunting and off-putting. From deciding what and when to plant, to watering requirements and pest control, these issues can seem confronting to gardeners when they are starting out.
That’s where a new Australian robot launched on Kickstarter could save the novice much frustration and treasure.
GardenSpace is a static robot that automatically waters plants based on their individual needs, taking much of the heavy lifting out of backyard gardening and allowing you to focus on the pleasure of growing your own food and flowers.
Simply connect GardenSpace to your water supply and Wi-Fi. A linked app acts as a garden control centre, while its solar-powered motor frees it from batteries or mains power.
By entering the details of the plants into the app, GardenSpace tracks each plant’s health data, together with the plant and soil temperatures.
The app can even tell you what to plant, where to plant it, and reorder seeds for you throughout the year.
Its motion-sensing, 360-degree-view camera watches the plants, and can even squirt water on trespassing animals.
GardenSpace can manage the upkeep of 100 square feet.
Price: pre-order pledges of $250.
Cooking On a Sun Stove
Banish smoky campfire and burnt outdoor meals forever with GoSun’s innovative new patented solar cooking technology and solar power, the energy source of the future.
GoSun channels the sun’s power to cook meals and boil and pasteurise water. It’s easy and fun.
Overhead cloud cover? No problem, thanks to GoSun’s breakthrough solar technology that's fast, reliable and at just 900 grams, oh so portable.
GoSun's patented solar cooking technology absorbs a broad spectrum of radiation, including ultraviolet light, which can easily penetrate clouds even when visible light cannot.
As long as you have a bit of sunshine, you're in business with GoSun.
GoSun's compound-parabolic reflector reflects sunlight onto a double-walled tube containing an inner vacuum.
This tube converts the light into heat, trapping it inside of the vacuum layer, providing amazing insulation, keeping heat in and cold out.
This insulating property means GoSun is always cool to the touch, so it never presents a fire hazard.
This makes it perfect for cooking on boats or balconies or outside during an outdoor fire ban.
Price: starting from $182.
Innovative Solar Bike Lock
With the rise in popularity of cycling, bike theft has become a fact of life. The Ellipse solar bike lock will help keep your treasured bike safe.
Ellipse is a smart bike lock that connects to your smartphone via an app. It provides keyless entry, theft detection, crash alerts and supports bike sharing amongst your family and friends.
Ellipse's rugged durable 17mm thick steel shackle offers proven security thanks to its dual-locking mechanism. On the app side, bank-level encryption prevents even the most determined hackers from getting through your virtual security.
Ellipse is totally keyless, simply locking and unlocking with a tap on your smartphone app. You can even set Ellipse to lock and unlock automatically, so you never have to take your smartphone out of your pocket.
If your phone ever runs out of battery, just key in your personal code (up to eight characters) into your Ellipse’s touchpad to lock or unlock it manually.
Meanwhile, Ellipse's built-in solar panel automatically charges its battery. Normal use in outdoor or indoor light will keep it charged. You can also charge it through a micro-USB charger.
Solar-Powered Festival Tent
The world of camping is about to be transformed by tech-savvy solar power.
By combining emerging solar power technology, existing camping systems, and communications technologies, Kaleidoscope designed an environmentally friendly solution to the challenge of providing power to major events such as the annual Glastonbury music festival.
It provides a hassle-free festival experience without having to worry about powering mobile phones, camping gadgetry and a host of digital devices.
This Orange clever camping tent concept combined a series of unique features. Firstly, it was constructed from photovoltaic fabric to generate solar energy.
It subsequently incorporated a rocking heated groundsheet together with a wireless hub and magnetic induction charging pouch.
The Orange tent’s innovative ‘glo-cation technology’ enables campers to identify their tent even in a massive crowd at a festival like Falls Festival thanks to combining cell phone SMS or RFID technology.
A festival goer simply activates the location app, and the tent’s motorcycle helmet-shaped dome begins to glow softly, acting as a visual beacon to guide the guest back to their tent.
Price: the Orange solar-powered tent is not yet available for sale.
Warm Shower in the Woods
Many of us love the outdoors. Whether hiking, cycling or camping are your passion, you never have to miss out on a hot shower again thanks to the Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower.
With its high volume of almost 20 litres water capacity, this solar shower bag is a smart addition to your camping gear and guaranteed to help you keep clean while camping.
This solar camp shower attracts and stores solar energy to heat water and provide you with a glorious hot shower. It also caters for all your washing requirements, however large or small.
The trick is that the shower bag is constructed of a heat-locking material that effectively warms the water when left in the sun, even on cool days.
The shower also features a strong handle for reliable hanging and carrying as well as a handy on or off shower head valve enabling you to control how much or how little water you use.
Window-Mounted Solar Charger
One of the eternal problems of embracing the world of smartphone apps are the perils of running out of power.
All those apps feel so far away when your phone suddenly dies and you don’t have a charger with you.
This clever device is tailor-made for those emergency situations when you need access to your phone even for just a few minutes.
Simply stick the solar panel to a window—any window, even a car window—and the solar panel will capture the sunlight, transforming it into environmentally friendly renewable energy, sufficiently versatile to power a host of digital gadgets.
To charge your device, simply connect the solar window charger’s USB port with the device’s micro USB cable port using the USB cable provided. The charging status will be displayed on the device.
By harnessing sunlight, you can use solar power to recharge many of the gadgets you control via an app on your smartphone.
From garden watering systems to a bicycle lock, to even providing hot water in your camping ground, you won’t miss out on the small indulgences in life thanks to these solar-powered gadgets.
If you want to see how much solar or battery storage could save you over the next 5 years, then take our solar saving calculator quiz below!
Or talk to an Instyle Solar expert about the best solutions for home energy storage or PV-panels.
Otherwise, head back to the solar blog to find even more great educational content.