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.
One of the points made by solar opposition is the intrusion of installations on existing ecosystems. For example, desert installations in the US are often subject to EIRs (Environmental Impact Reports) that may make or break a project. Albeit, this is done for good reasons and with the right intent for all involved (human and non-human). So, designers in Australia have come up with a solution that doesn’t harm the footprint of the solar array installation, all while working as a water conservation system for a water treatment facility.
As this solar array is situated on a buoyant foundation, it acts as an evaporation barrier for the water below (cools the surface temperature of the water that is shaded by the solar array, thus less evaporation from radiation as well as some blockage of lateral wind evaporation.) No additional land is used with this array (see scenario above), so the situation is optimized for both electricity generation and efficient water treatment. The electricity generated is used to power the water treatment operations with excess electricity sold to the local township.
Smart design for a smart technology. Way to go Australia!
Mario @ Your Solar Link
This is the final post in our series on solar street lights from SolTek Renewables. We covered everything from energy collection (solar panels) to energy storage (rechargeable 12 Volt batteries). Now we will focus on energy distribution. This is maintained by a smart controller that is located near the base and inside of each light pole (poles are hollow).
The smart controller has a few functions:
1. The smart controller is a gateway device that is located between the solar panel and the rechargeable battery. The controller will monitor the current of electricity going into the battery to ensure that the battery is not overcharged.
2. Once the sun has set, the smart controller recognizes the drop in current and automatically reverses the flow of electricity out of the rechargeable battery and into the CREE LED luminaires.
3. Smart controllers can be set to energize the LED luminaires in several modes such as split night (full output for first 5 hours and then to 40% for remainder of evening), full output (which will lessen the autonomy from 5 to about 2 or 3 nights), to full brightness with automatic shut-off (this setting may extend the system autonomy well beyond 5 nights).
4. Once the sun starts to rise at dawn, the smart controller will repeat the cycle of energy collection via the solar panel and direct it to the rechargeable battery.
It’s that simple! Now that we are able to collect, control, and distribute our own free energy from the sun, the applications are becoming limitless. With all the components designed into one unit, the solar street lights from SolTek Renewables are without a doubt the most economical, environmentally friendly, reliable and practical solution for almost all exterior illumination projects in most of the world. 2015 is here and so is SolTek Renewables!
Mario @ Your Solar Link
We have been posting the components of the solar street lights at www.soltekrenewables.com. So far we have covered the 12-Volt rechargeable batteries, galvanized steel poles and CREE LED fixtures. Next up are the first point of contact for energy collection and generation: the solar panel. Solar panels are the point where photons from the sun (light) are collected, converted to electricity and transmitted via wires to the rechargeable batteries for storage and distribution at night to the LED luminaires. Sizes of solar panels have been steadily decreasing since their early years of widespread use. While the panels have been decreasing in size, they have also been increasing in efficiency. Efficiency is the amount of energy that is converted to usable electricity. Typical efficiencies run between 11% to 15%, with some companies offering panels at 18% efficiency.
Factors that can affect efficiency are reflective coatings on the panel to increase light infiltration, orientation of the solar panel relative to the sun, obstructions (shade from trees, buildings, etc.) and ambient temperature, to name a few. For the purposes of solar street lights, the optimum fixed panel position is tilted toward the south (for those of us in the USA). An angle of at least 20 degrees optimizes efficiency; however for those at higher latitudes, this angle will increase depending on your particular geographical location. For those on the equator, the optimum angle would be zero (as the sun crosses perpendicular twice a year), etc.
Solar panels for SolTek Renewables‘ line of solar street lights are higher on the efficiency rating, are minimally affected by temperature (as they do not rest on a surface such as a roof or ground that radiates stored heat from below) and can be coated with nano-coating applications to further increase prolonged clean panel surfaces in dusty locations. As for the aesthetics of a solar panel on top of the pole, the high efficiency and relatively small size of each panel do not detract from the design of the pole and fixture. Furthermore, it is nice to see that the energy used to light up your lights is collected with that solar panel on the top. A small reminder that you are now self-sufficient, off-grid and using a 100% renewable energy light where you own the energy that you use. An honest solution that is better for the environment and even better for your wallet.
Mario @ Your Solar Link
You may have seen the new light fixtures that are going up around town where the light is a very bright white light and it is all coming from a relatively small and low-profile fixture. Chances are that the fixture is one that uses LEDs as a light source. The advantage of LEDs are numerous:
1. LEDs produce very little heat compared to traditional lighting sources (incandescent, halogen, sodium and mercury vapor).
2. LEDs are a little more costly at first, but they quickly recuperate their costs with minimal energy usage over the long term.
3. LEDs are safer for the environment than induction lighting (that have about the same life-span) which require hazardous materials clean-up protocol due to the use of mercury in induction lamps.
4. LEDs come in a variety of color ranges (measured in Kelvin).
5. LEDs can be incorporated into a variety of housing styles and configurations.
As fixtures incorporate LEDs, their low-demand of energy allows them to be used in solar lighting applications. As energy demand is low, off-grid system autonomy increases with the use of highly-efficient rechargeable 12 Volt lead-acid batteries (very much the same as what is in your car) and smart controllers to regulate the amount of energy fixtures use each night. Typical autonomy runs for about 5 nights. That means that when the solar panels collect sunlight (about 2 to 4 hours) on day 1, then the LED fixture will continue to illuminate at night for the next 5 nights assuming that days 2 through 5 are completely cloud-covered or occluded.
Pathways and home use applications are also options for off-grid solar lighting. Large driveways or park pathways benefit with the use of the Lita, Lumina and Brighta series lights. As each light is a stand-alone and fully-contained unit, no wiring to trenching is required. So getting light to hard-to-reach places or where you may not have considered illuminating (think, the end of a boating dock or on a rocky surface) is achievable with the sustainable and 100% renewable energy lights from SolTek Renewables.
And let’s not forget lighting for smaller or design-specific applications such as signage lighting, interior lighting (within 40 feet of the solar panel) and event lighting. The SPG series allows for the solar panel, rechargeable battery (with integrated box) and smart controller (called an SPG) to be placed in areas where sun shines and a light fixture or fixtures can be placed away from the SPG unit. Spot, flood and bar lighting with a range of Wattages are available for each location. All fixtures again utilize LEDs to maximize the system autonomy while provided industry-standard white light.
Solar lighting from SolTek Renewables is here to stay and will bring the power of free energy to users and owners of their autonomous lights. No operating costs mean that money is immediately being saved and the environment is spared the damaging effects of dirty energy sources. Each light is a stand-alone unit that uses 100% renewable energy, guaranteed. Stay tuned for our next component (the solar panel) of the lights offered by SolTek Renewables.
Mario @ Your Solar Link
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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