by Maria Juniper, Contributing Editor
The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a prominent global electronics and technology focused trade show that takes place every year in Las Vegas. Held in January each year, it is known for introducing the latest technology trends and most innovative electronics. This year, solar energy was at the forefront with a huge variety of tech that utilize the power of the sun. Here are some of the most impressive solar-powered products featured at the 2016 event.
The GoSun Stove is a portable cooking stove that is powered by solar energy. The small tubular metal and evacuated-glass cylinder can reach temperatures of up to 550°F or 290°C. It is low maintenance, capturing the sun’s rays even on cloudy and winter days to steam, bake, fry, roast or boil meals in as little as 20 minutes. The highly effective solar oven is expected to help combat global warming by reducing dependence on fossil fuels for cooking. We should expect the latest model to ship by this summer.
Swarovski Fitness Tracker
One other trend at CES came in the form of wearables and fitness trackers. However, the Misfit Swarovski Shine, really stood out for its solar-powered design and flashy looks. The face of the tracker is a single large crystal embedded in a crystal-studded band, and the device is powered by a solar cell inside the central crystal. This fitness tracker combines advanced solar power technology with fashionable design, and is expected to make a splash when it comes on the market later this year.
Samsung Sol Bag
Samsung has created a different kind of wearable. The Samsung Sol Bag is a purse and a solar charger all-in-one. About the size of a small laptop, its stylish hexagon pattern belies the solar cells that charge your Galaxy phone in as little as four hours. Although it can’t store power (so you have to enjoy the sunshine a bit while it charges), it is expected to be quite a hit with consumers when it hits the shelves in late 2016.
The Sunbook 7 and Sunbook 14
The Sunbook by NRG – touted as “Simple Portable Solar Power”- is a basic concept that is quite revolutionary. This portable solar panel can be used to charge your phone, using the Sunbook 7, or your tablet with the Sunbook 14 with a basic kickstand and LED-light indicator light to ensure good sun placement. The detachable battery pack must be charged up in the sun before using it to charge electronic devices using free, clean, renewable energy.
Activeon Solar X
The Activeon Solar X is a video camera with a 2 hour battery life that is charged completely by the flip-up solar panels attached to its sides. Charging is supposed to require less than 30 minutes to reach 80 percent battery power. Video quality is 2,160p through a f2.4 wide-angle lens, and it has a 2-inch touchscreen and WiFi capability for uploading videos. It is expected to be available in March and is currently priced at $430.
All this focus on solar is unsurprising, since the solar industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. This is no surprise as renewable energy use has been steadily growing, accounting for 13 percent of the energy generated in the United States, according to Ohio Gas. Solar power, in particular, is an excellent way to reduce the human impact on the environment. For that reason it can be expected to be used in a wide range of gadgets and larger applications in the coming years.
by Maria Juniper, Contributing Editor
The gift that keeps on giving has never been greener, and the time to buy one for your friend or loved one is quickly approaching. This year for the holidays, instead of giving some trite piece of clothing or kitchen appliance, try looking for the perfect gifts for those eco-friendly friends who wants to help benefit the environment, or perhaps for a family member who could use anything to help decrease their utility bill. Buying a solar powered gadget can do both of these things and more and there are any number of gifts that would make the perfect choice for any number of people.
These can charge a number of different electronic devices depending on what kind of device you get. Some cheaper models may only power cell phones while more advanced ones can power laptops or higher-energy devices. They can range in price from $50 up to $250, depending on your budget and needs. Most will include about a 10-foot extension cord so you can charge your device outside while you sit nearby. Furthermore, you can also purchase solar powered batteries, most commonly AA or AAA sizes, which you can charge and then put into a device that needs batteries.
Solar Outdoor Lights
Solar lights can come in many different varieties and are very useful for anyone who likes to work outdoors in the garden in or on an outdoor workstation. They will be able charge through the day and then help illuminate a space at night to save any nuisance from charging with wires or electricity. Ranging from $30 to $150, some lights may be simple path lights to mark a walkway, while others may be brighter and more intense security lights that work in conjunction with your home security system. These can be programmed to come on automatically if there is motion and remain on for as long as you like.
Perfect for little tykes that don’t even know how much they want to save the environment yet, solar toys can foster an appreciation for solar energy. These green toys can range from model trains, houses, cars, or robots, ranging in price from anywhere to just $20 up to $200 depending on how much you would like to spend. Make sure the product is durable enough to withstand the age group for the child you’re purchasing, as these can be very specific sometimes.
These timepieces can range anywhere from wristwatches to desk clocks to radios, some of which are even water powered! These usually run for cheaper, often just around $20, so solar watches could make perfect gifts for close acquaintances or friends. Simply leaving the watch or clock where there is sun will power it for hours or even days, depending on the model.
Solar-powered backpacks can come in especially handy for those who love the outdoors. Ranging from about $80 on the low end on up to $200, these can help charge laptops or cell phones while on a hike or bike ride. As with other solar energy products, sometimes the easiest place to find them is to shop online because this will allow you to browse through a number of different options, read reviews, and make a decision without having to look at a limited selection and feeling pressured to buy something you don’t want.
Purchasing any of these items for gifts will bolster the solar industry and environmental movement. They are gifts you can be confident about giving and knowing that they will be met with excitement on the receiving end and they will, even more importantly, be of great use if given with careful thought and attention.
In the vocabulary of our modern world, the term “organic gardening” has become widely popular in gardening magazines, books, on the World Wide Web and in everyday conversations.
While growing without chemicals is trendy now, it has been around since ancient times. It was the only way to farm. After all, chemical fertilizers weren’t even a possibility until the 1840’s.
So, what exactly is organic gardening? And how is it beneficial to us?
Organic Rose Garden in California.
Organic strawberries grown in Escondido, CA.
Image by Your Solar Link.
In plain words, organic gardens don’t get fertilized with synthetics; only animal or vegetable fertilizers are used.
Natural pest control methods are used, as opposed to industrial insecticides. In other words only natural substances and beneficial insects are used to ward off pests instead of spraying with potentially harmful commercial chemical substances.
Tatiana Starines has been enjoying organic gardening for over 70 years.
And just look at the results!
Image by Your Solar Link.
6 major benefits of organic gardening:
1. The harmful and toxic chemicals that we spray on our produce also seep into the ground, thus affecting insects that are beneficial. These chemicals also find their way into the air, waterways, sewers, lakes and streams. Organic gardeners create a mini “eco-system” that will maintain a healthy balance of soil and contribute to the health of our planet by not putting long-lasting, toxic chemicals into the air, soil and watershed. This makes organic gardening beneficial for everyone.
2. Organic gardeners contribute to preserving diversity. The loss of a large variety of species (biodiversity) is one of the most pressing environmental concerns. The good news is that many organic farmers and gardeners have been collecting and preserving seeds, and growing remarkable varieties for decades.
3. It is no-brainer that the natural health of the soil will produce healthy fruits and vegetables for your table. Organically-grown food is more nutritious than food grown using conventional methods. In humans, healthy and balanced nourishment increases strength of the immune system and minimizes the risks of potentially deadly diseases.
4. There is evidence of physical and emotional human benefits with organic gardening. “muscle-power” rather than “machine-power” burns more calories. You definitely will be in great shape and stress-free (horticultural therapy), when you spend quality time in your garden.
5. Organic gardening greatly reduces your exposure to pesticides, which have been linked to many severe health problems.
6. Growing your own healthy produce saves your household money in the long run.
Another view of Tatiana’s organic garden. Spring 2010.
Organic growing is much more than not using pesticides or insecticides. It is a philosophy that stresses on increasing the natural health of the soil, choosing suitable plants that are appropriate for your area, and working with nature to create a healthy and productive garden.
Tatiana’s organic garden. Spring 2010. Image by Your Solar Link.
Tatiana’s organic garden. Spring 2010. Image by Your Solar Link.
It only makes sense to use appropriate and eco-friendly lighting, such as solar lights, in your organic garden. Solar lights are easy to install (no wiring) and they are charged by the energy of sun (free, renewable, eco-friendly energy). Solar lighting is ideal for areas where conventional electrical supply is not available. They are a simple way to accentuate your trees, pathways and flower beds!
With the latest solar technology developments, the solar industry has moved forward substantially. Now we have a cool variety of choices when picking appropriate solar lighting for your organic garden.
Some of them are really bright (solar spot light) and will accentuate the beauty of your trees or large bushes.
Others release a soft and pleasantly scattered light that looks great around your pathways and flowerbeds.
A great selection of solar garden lights can be found here. While choosing an appropriate solar lighting solution for your garden, pay attention to the solar product descriptions to make sure you get what best suites your garden needs. See solar gardens image galleries HERE.
Starting and maintaining an organic garden is simple and easy with a little knowledge and patience.
Growing your own organic garden is something you can take great pride and pleasure in.
Organic garden. Spring. Image by Your Solar Link.
Visit the Organic Consumers Association to learn more.
Image from www.dfg.ca.gov.
The federal government has come up with a robust plan under the Recovery & Reinvestment Act to stimulate the economy as well as satisfy clean energy concerns. They have installed a number of tax incentives designed to persuade home owners and businesses to buy into their energy policy. The tax credits are pretty strong. Top 5 picks for cashing in on geothermal, solar, wind, and electric vehicles between now and 2016 are listed below. They all give 30% of cost towards tax credit. With no upper limit. That means if a wind system costs you 25 grand then you get a $7500 tax credit. These credits are for your primary residence. Vacation homes can get partial credit. Rentals do not qualify. New and existing homes are eligible.
1. Geothermal Heat Pump
2. Solar Energy Systems
3. Wind Energy Systems
4. Fuel Cells
5. Electric vehicles- EVs purchased in or after 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. The credit amount will vary based on the capacity of the battery used to fuel the vehicle.
The tax credits all work towards the main goal. The government has done a good job of developing the solar power program. The Solar Energy Technologies Program focuses on developing cost-effective solar energy technologies that have the greatest potential to benefit the nation and the world. A growing solar industry also stimulates our economy by creating jobs in solar manufacturing and installation.
Juicebar Pocket Solar Charger.
This stylish, sleek and reliable pocket size Universal Battery Charger (Juicebar Solar Charger) is proven to be your best friend in a situation when conventional electric supply is not available or if you are trying to use eco-friendly renewable power supplies.
Great as a solar phone charger for any type of Mobile Phones, IPhones, PSA, PDA, Mp3 Players, Satellite Navigation, and much more.
Get it HERE.
SOLAR PATH LIGHTS.
Stainless Steel Conical Solar Path Light (Set of 2).
Path solar lights are an excellent choice for lighting your garden paths, walkways, driveway perimeters and other regions in your landscape. They are often used in multiples to guide the way along a set of stairs or a dark walk.
Featured Stainless Steel Solar Light set uses 2 ultra-bright LEDs for maximum light output and minimum battery usage.
The lights are safe around kids and pets and water and corrosion resistant.
Read more HERE
STONE SOLAR SPOT LIGHTS.
Stone Solar Spot Lights (also known as Solar Rock Lights) completely camouflage with existing landscapes and look like any other rock in your garden.
SOLAR GARDEN FOUNTAINS.
How to start using ecologically friendly energy to power up your garden fountains and other garden water features?
Why not go with a solar powered water pump?
To accommodate your needs the Solar Fountain Pump Systems we carry range from 2 to 8 Watt. Browse our collection of solar water pumps for your fish ponds and solar fountains.
Enjoy your garden water features and your energy savings at the same time. Make a note of the various power levels and the flow rate of the solar water pumps before your purchase.
Please write us your review after your purchase. Your opinion is important to us!
DECORATIVE SOLAR ACCENT LIGHTS.
Solar accent lights (Set of 2) create an enjoyable and inviting glow for your landscape.
They are designed to mark a place.
Solar Spot Light - $26.99
Super High Output Spot Light (4 Super Bright LEDs). Free Shipping!
Solar spot lights like this one rely on energy from the sun to charge their batteries and provide light throughout the night.
This means that there is no need to tap into the electrical grid for these lights to operate.
The solar spot lights will work consistently, even if the whole neighborhood is dealing with a power outage.
Learn more about Solar Spot Lights at http://www.yoursolarlink.com/solar-spot-lights, where we have a great selection of solar spot lights to choose from.
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