Did you know that the cost of installing a solar power system for all of your electricity needs can be? Ouch. But wait, don’t give up solar power just yet. If using solar power throughout your home is over budget, you can always add smaller, cheaper solar elements that save electricity. Let’s take a look at the options.
There are a plethora of solar powered stationary and portable lights that you can easily add to your home.
Start your solar journey in your garden. I personally have solar walkway lights near my front door and twinkle solar lights decorating my yard. The process of installing these types of lights is pretty straightforward – you just need to place the lights where you want them to be and make sure the solar panel is facing the sky.
When you light up your garden, don’t forget your porch light. For less than $ 50, you can pick up a solar option like the Gama Sonic Solar Outdoor Wall Lantern ($ 39).
14 things to do now that will save you in a power outage
See all photos
Your phones and tablets need daily recharging, so why not turn the power source green? Solar power banks, like the Portable Solar Power Bank ($ 15) and the Kiizon Power Bank ($ 37) come with USB ports that you can use to charge your phone, as well as other small gadgets. The best part is that these banks are portable, so you are never connected to a wall outlet.
The downside is that solar power banks charge your devices slower than a wall outlet. Fortunately, banks can recharge with sunlight during the day and store that energy to charge your devices at night, when you don’t really need them to charge quickly.
Whichever solar charger you choose, look for one that can charge your devices while charging in the sun. Also check how many items it can charge at a time and whether it protects your device from overloading.
Don’t just power your devices with solar energy. You can also power your small kitchen appliances – like your coffee maker, toaster, Instant Pot, slow cooker, or sandwich maker – without plugging them into a wall. While the monetary savings on your electricity bill will be small, the planet will still benefit from your use of renewable energy. In addition, during blackouts, you will still be able to cook.
All you will need is a 25 watt power bank that you can stick in a window and a DC to AC inverter to make it happen. The inverter simply plugs into the power bank, so it’s very easy to set up.
If you want an all-in-one solution, Goal Zero makes solar power kits with large storage batteries. It has everything you need to power your small appliance.
Once you’ve set it up, just plug your little device into the power bank. They will work as usual. The only downside is that you can only power one device at a time, unless you have multiple power banks.
Your typical water heater uses about $ 440 of electricity per year. You can save that money by going for solar power. There are solar water heater kits that you can buy for $ 250 to $ 1,200, so they pay for themselves very quickly.
Generally, there are three different types of solar water heaters. One thing they all have in common is that they heat the water and then store it in insulated storage systems to keep the water hot until it’s needed.
Batch collectors, also known as integrated collector storage systems, are the oldest types of solar water heaters and they are still popular because they require very little sunlight to heat the water and they are simple to install.
You probably already know that anything painted black absorbs sunlight and heats up quickly. Batch collectors use large tanks or black tubes to collect solar heat in order to heat the water inside.
Flat collector water heaters have a heat absorbing plate that collects heat from the sun and then transfers it to the copper tubes. As the tubes heat up, so does the water inside. The plates are usually installed on the roof to get the maximum amount of light during the day. The problem with this style of heater is that it is not as reliable at heating water as regularly as some of the other choices.
Evacuated tube collectors are considered to be the most productive solar water heaters. Glass or metal tubes filled with water or heat transfer fluid are placed inside larger glass tubes, creating a vacuum. In this vacuum, very little heat is lost, so the water is heated very efficiently. Another plus is that it can even be used in outdoor temperatures as low as 40 F, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Some things to look for when purchasing a solar water heater kit are durability and the amount of water the water heater can heat at a time. When it comes to durability, make sure all exterior components are hail resistant, especially if you put a plaque on your roof. For flow, look for heaters that can deliver at least 2.1 gallons of hot water per minute.