With recent innovations in solar power technology, more electrically powered products are aiming to utilize solar power to keep up with the solar energy revolution.
Solar photovoltaic panels or simply PV panels are the most popular solar power product both in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Its popularity is due to the programs and stimulus packages financed by government agencies throughout the world. It is a proven source of electricity both to rural and urban regions. PV panels can power billboards, bus stop, highway traffic and sign lights, emergency telephones, navigational buoys, as well as residential home appliances like television, fans, pumps, computers, etc.
Solar powered pumps
In rural areas, solar powered pumps are use to supply water to residential areas, livestock, farms, etc. In the metropolitan, it is a convenient way to supply water to gardens and fountains. Typically, a DC solar powered pump is used in smaller applications like fountains while AC solar powered pumps are suitable for any type of application, be it landscaping or irrigation.
Solar powered phone chargers
These great little battery banks can be charged by the sun and provide many recharges for your cell phone.
Solar boats and vehicles
Solar boats are ideal to use in still waters like lakes. It can be easily powered in a nice, sunny day without using batteries and is easy to be rowed if there is insufficient solar energy. Hybrid vehicles are automobiles powered by two or more power sources. In the case of solar hybrid cars, the car typically is powered by fuel or other energy source while the electronics are powered by solar energy. There are solar-charged vehicles as well, which mainly used solar energy to charge the car’s battery. Electric bicycles, which use electric motors, also have solar electric bicycles where solar energy is used to charge the bike’s motor. Solar hybrid boats are also available.
Solar pool heaters
This uses solar thermal power and not the usual PV panels. A flat plate, normally called solar thermal collectors are used to collect heat which then converts it to electricity by heating water to produce steam and drive a turbine connected to an electrical generator. The process is more complex than PV panels but is more cost-effective and job-efficient.
Solar pool heaters can be mounted on the rooftop where the solar thermal collectors can collect sufficient sunlight. Swimming pools can be heated in two ways: direct or open loop system and indirect or close loop system. In the open loop system, the water is circulated on a hot water storage tank where the collectors heat the potable water. In close loop system, a heat exchanger is used to separate the potable water from the fluid that circulates through the collector. When the fluid is heated, it is then combined with the potable water. The close loop system is ideal for cold weather while the open loop system is only applicable to tropical or moderate weather conditions.
Solar pool covers
Automatic pool covers use an electric motor to mechanically cover the pool after use. The motor is powered by solar energy while the pool cover is made from standard materials. However, pool covers can replace solar pool heaters as a pool cover is able to increase and decrease the pool’s temperature. During hot weather, a pool cover reduces the heat from the sun by absorbing 75% of solar energy that may strike the pool surface. During cold weather, pool covers keep the pool’s water in moderate temperature as it does not only absorb heat, it also absorb freezing temperature.
Indoor solar lighting is possible through a daylighting system that collects and distributes sunlight for indoor illumination. Outdoor solar lighting is composed of simple solar power system where the lights are continuously being charged through the day and discharge at night by illuminating walkways.