10 Ways to Use Solar Energy Around Your Home

10 Ways to Use Solar Energy Around Your Home

You already know that you can use the energy from solar panels to power things like your lights or appliances but there are lots of other ways that you can use solar energy around your home too.

So if you don’t want the expense and hassle of installing a full solar power system to give you electricity for the entire house you can start with a smaller solar set up to power some of the things around your home.

Here are 10 ways to use solar panel energy to operate things besides your lights and appliances:

1. Your outdoor lights.

You can use solar energy to power your garden and walkway lights and other outdoor lights. Solar energy garden lights to light your sidewalk or garden paths are inexpensive and can be purchased in different styles at your local home improvement store.

The solar cells on the lights gather energy from the sun and store that electricity in small batteries on the light. At night the battery powers the light.

A few years ago only low-powered mood lights were available as solar-powered. With recent advances in solar cell and battery technology, there is now some powerful floodlight available that are solar-powered.

Solar outdoor lights are a great way to see how solar energy works before you spend thousands of dollars on a solar panel setup.

2. Your pool and hot tub.

Many pools and hot tubs now use solar energy to heat the water. The solar power unit usually assists the electric or gas heating units and even if the whole system isn’t heated by solar power alone, the solar power assist will still save you on your heating bill.

If you have an older pool or hot tub that doesn’t have a built-in solar energy system you can purchase a solar power kit from a pool supply store that you can use to convert your existing pool or hot tub heater into one that uses solar energy for heating. It will pay for itself in energy savings.

3. Use a solar oven.

As mentioned earlier, the first harnessing of solar energy was to cook food in a specially designed oven that focuses the sun’s rays to heat food.

Originally these small ovens were built for camping but they work great for summer cooking too! Rather than mess with charcoal or propane tanks, solar ovens are cheap and easy to use without all of the waste of conventional cooking techniques.

These small ovens can cook food at a temperature up to about 350 degrees and are fully solar-powered. A unique system of glass and reflective material absorbs the sun’s heat like a solar PV cell and then magnifies it so that it gets hot enough to cook. Ditch the electric or gas grill and use a solar oven for your backyard cooking.

4. Use “passive heat” storage tubes to increase and store solar energy.

Using these innovative greenhouse fiberglass tubes can really cut down on your heating bills in the winter. These tall fiberglass cylinders are perfect as room accents or room dividers.

They look like pillars, but they are hollow. Fill them with water and they will catch and store energy from sunlight which can fill the room with heat.

In the winter make sure that they get lots of exposure to bright winter sun and they will help keep your home warm without a huge heating bill.

5. Use solar chargers to charge your MP3 player.

Yes, your cell phone, your laptop, and other electronic devices that you use everyday run on batteries. Hopefully, you are already using rechargeable batteries to help save costs and reduce toxic waste.

There are several solar-powered chargers on the market that either charge internal batteries, like in cell phones, or charge C, D, AA, and AAA batteries.

These solar rechargers come with different size cords so that you can use it with different items. Using solar power to charge these items you use every day can take a chunk out of your electric bill each month.

6. Use solar-powered appliances.

Ok, maybe it doesn’t make sense to use solar-powered appliances in the house when you’re opening and closing the fridge 20 times a day. But there are solar-powered refrigerators and freezers that are perfect for food storage.

How many people have a second freezer or refrigerator or both in the garage for storing frozen or refrigerated food? Lots of people do. Lots of people also keep a small refrigerator in the home office, in the garage workshop, or on the patio to keep cold drinks and snacks in.

Using a solar-powered fridge or freezer can save you money and show you how well solar energy works.

7. Heat your water with solar power.

You can install a solar water heater system for a fraction of the cost of a full solar power system. Using a solar water heating system will save you money and give you a great idea of what living with a house powered only by solar energy would be like.

8. Use solar indoor lights.

You can burn up a lot of expensive energy using regular lights. Instead of using overhead lights use the solar-powered desk and floor lamps to light up your home at night.

Like the outdoor lights, these indoor lights capture light energy during the day and store it in a small battery. At night the small battery powers the light.

9. Try using solar-powered electronics.

Now you can use solar energy to charge your electronics or you can skip straight to solar-powered electronics. You can buy solar-powered Bluetooth headsets, MP3 players, cell phones and other items that you need to use every day.

You should also have a solar-powered radio in the house in case the electricity goes out and you need an emergency radio.

10. A solar power generator.

Every home should have a generator in case the power goes out, and using a solar power generator will ensure that you always have power.

All you need to do to recharge your solar generator is set it in the sun, so if you were struck by a natural disaster or other emergencies that wiped out your power you would have enough energy to power the things you needed for days or even weeks if you had a solar generator available.

It’s also a smart idea to keep solar-powered flashlights and lanterns in a sunny place just in case of an emergency.

These are just a few of the many ways that you start using solar power around your home to see how well solar power work and how reliable it is before you decide to go all the way and install a full solar panel array to provide power for your home.

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