Improved technology and a growing public interest in reducing energy consumption have resulted in an explosion of small solar powered products for consumers. Take advantage of this new wave of inexpensive solar products to charge a cell phone, MP3 player, or laptop computer, and to power a radio, clock, or other household electrical devices.
All of the following solar powered devices, gadgets, and chargers are available from online retailers.
Solar Radio and Flashlight
The clear case on the Eyemax radio from Freeplay Energy (pictured below) lets you see the electronics inside, which just adds to the cool features of this radio and flashlight combo. A solar panel charges the device with the sun, or users can power the radio with kinetic energy through a built-in crank. The radio plays 25 hours with a full charge, which is created after about 16 hours in direct sunlight. Price: $49, shipping is $8.
Solar Alarm Clock
Wake to the sun peaking through your window while also powering your alarm clock. The AccuCell alarm clock from Solar Home.org, pictured below, will run for more than eight months without any sun. A double-A rechargeable alkaline battery is included. Price: $20.15, shipping varies with UPS.
Solar Cell Phone Charger
Power up your cell phone, digital camera, MP3 player, and a host of small electronics with the Solio Universal Solar Charger (see photo below), which is available through Target and other online stores. The compact charger draws energy from the sun, or an electrical socket, and stores it in an internal battery. A fully charged Solio will recharge a cell phone twice or provide up to 15 hours of music on an iPod. Cool feature: a window suction cup lets the device cling to a car window to work while you travel. Price: $99.99, free shipping currently at Target.
Solar Laptop Charger Bag
Despite how it looks, you can’t charge a laptop with this bag, but you can use it to charge all sorts of small devices just by toting your computer around on a sunny day. The Solar Messenger Bag from Voltaic Systems has three light weight, waterproof solar panels the can charge a typical cell phone after four to six hours of direct sunlight. It comes with a battery pack and 11 standard adaptors. Price: $229, shipping varies.
Solar Mosquito Guard
Giaim’s Solar Mosquito Guard is an inexpensive solution to repelling the ubiquitous biting pest. Clip it to a waist band or attach it to your key chain and, after three hours of sunlight, the device will emit a high-frequency wave that scares off mosquitoes. Price: $10, shipping is $5.95.
Consider products like these to power up the electronic gadgets you use every day and start saving money on your electricity bill while you help to save our planet.