As crude-oil politics become more complicated and global warming a more urgent issue, solar power is already fueling a lot of things you didn’t even know about. Here are a few:
A solar-powered car is becoming more commercially feasible every year – we already have the technology. At the most recent World Solar Challenge, a Dutch research team “Solar Team Eindhoven” presented “Stella,” a solar-powered vehicle that can drive 500 miles (800 km) on a single charge. The prototype four-seater has solar cells on its roof that provide power while driving.
Enterprising company Big Belly is currently marketing solar-powered trash cans which cities could purchase for green neighborhoods. These cans, while expensive – costing as much as $4,000 – use solar energy to compact trash by themselves, saving municipalities the money spent on manpower and fuel involved in frequent trash collection.
While Apple is marketing its new iWatch, you could spend a lot less on a solar-powered, full-feature digital watch, Casio’s G-Shock, which can reportedly run for a few months when fully charged.
Much like calculators, your office could be outfitted with solar-powered keyboards, computers, mice and Wi-Fi. All of these products already exist and are being sold by companies like Logitech. All you need is a window with sunlight. When fully charged, a solar-powered keyboard can run for three months, in the darkness of a boring office.
The sun’s rays can not only warm your house but also power the air conditioning system developed by Lennox. These systems cost significantly more than the average home-cooling system but will save a homeowner lots of money in electricity bills.