Solar panels for electricity and hot water are nothing new but this article will look at numerous other options available using the sun’s energy. Let’s start with solar shingles. They are both a roof shingle and a solar panels each shingle being a mini electrical generator that will produce electricity with an output of approximately 600 watts per 100 square feet. Dow Chemical came up with the idea. These shingles can qualify for a Federal Tax Credit, however, expect to spend well over $10,000 for your new roof.
Consider lowering your electric bill by replacing your electric outdoor lights with solar ones. We’ve all seen the driveways lined with solar lights but why not use the lights for something useful as opposed to something decorative? Perhaps using the lights to light your front stairs where your solar doorbell is shining brightly and your solar house numbers are lit up.
How about building your own solar cooker? You can build one for as little as $10.00. Solar cookers or ovens can be used to bake bread, pasteurize water when you are out camping, or heating left-overs. The temperatures in these ovens can easily reach 250-300º F.
If you have a small pond or waterfall in your yard that you need to aerate, get rid of that electric water pump that is costing you money and opt for a pump that uses the sun’s energy. A pump plus solar panel can be purchased for approximately $40.00.
Are you freezing or canning surplus vegetables from your garden? Why not build a solar dehydrator and let Mother Nature dry your vegetables and herbs?
If you entertain in the evening, solar deck lights come in all shapes and sizes and can be purchased at any of the home box stores.
If Fido’s job is to guard the house but you feel guilty about having him stay in a cold doghouse during those long winter months, numerous designs are on the internet for “solar doghouses.”
If you’re a camping or fishing fanatic but hate mosquitos, you can buy a “Solar Mosquito Guard.” It charges in the sun during the day and, by night, emits an ultrasonic frequency that mosquitos hate.
Who hasn’t seen a photo of the safari helmet with a built-in evaporative fan that is run on a small solar panel built into the top of the hat?
If rabbits are a problem around your garden, consider a rodent repeller that emits sonic waves to keep critters away from your vegetables.
If you hate coming back to a hot car after shopping, consider purchasing a solar powered car ventilator. It sits on your car side window and exhausts the hot indoor air.
If you have a need for an electrified fence, you can purchase a solar powered fence charger, called “The Solar Pak” that will operate for 21 days without the sun and will charge up to 25 miles of fence.
If you hate buying batteries for kid’s toys, buy toys that have built in mini solar panels to power those toys. If the toys run on batteries, you can buy rechargeable batteries and buy a solar powered recharger to charge those batteries. For the little budding scientist in you family, there are do-it-yourself solar kit toys.
Let’s not forget the holidays. Outdoor solar powered LED lights can be purchased for just about any holiday from the red, white, and blues to the oranges for Halloween.
Whether you’re the homesteader type or simply want to get off the grid, numerous options are available to you to reduce your electric bill. Do your homework to figure out if purchasing the product will give you a good ROI.