As technology continues to progress, new and innovative ways of powering our modern lives come into being. A lot of the most exciting developments today are occurring in the world of solar power. If you would like to increase your awareness about solar power as an energy source, read on. This article will discuss three of the most exciting applications of solar power.
1. Phone Chargers
If you're like most people, chances are you spend a lot of time on a smartphone. These useful devices allow us to navigate, research, and communicate on the go. In fact, smartphones can be so useful that many people struggle to keep them adequately charged. While wall-wart power units do just fine when you're inside, phones don't always choose the best moments to die.
Things get even tougher for outdoor enthusiasts, who may spend days - if not weeks - without access to electrical power. Many such people still value the freedom and safety that a working phone represents. Just a few years ago, they would have had no choice but to lug along a cumbersome collection of backup batteries.
Today, however, everybody can enjoy on-the-go cell phone charging with a compact and lightweight solar power charger. Look for a model that contains a built-in battery while still allowing for direct charging. The best solar chargers on the market today utilize first-generation crystalline silicon, which provides the best charging efficiency, even in low-light condition.
2. Trash Compactors
Waste management poses lots of problems for big cities, not the least of which is the incredible cost of dealing with solid waste. Street and sidewalk garbage cans represent an especial problem. Not only does it take a lot of manpower to keep city garbage cans from overflowing, but carting away all that trash can cost a small fortune in gasoline.
Recognizing this problem, several different companies have debuted self-compacting trash cans powered by solar panels on the top of the unit. Such trash cans can hold as much as five times more solid waste than a regular trash can. That means that they will need to be emptied five times less frequently.
Better yet, the compacted trash won't take up as much room in the garbage truck. That means fewer trips to the dump and, therefore, less money spent on fuel and vehicle maintenance. These trash cans have proved so popular - and effective - that they can now be found in more than 1,500 cities.
3. Solar Windows
Up until now, most solar panels can be found mounted on the roofs of buildings. This allows the panels to effectively harness the sunlight beaming down from above. However, it also puts a distinct limit on the area that can be covered with the panels. For those who dream of powering skyscrapers and apartment buildings with solar energy, this represents a significant limitation.
All that may be changing, however, thanks to the development of so-called solar glass. This incredible new product, developed by a team of scientists working at Michigan State University, has all the transparency of regular glass. In fact, to look at it, you would never guess that it possesses the ability to harness energy from the light passing through it.
This glass contains organic molecules capable of absorbing energy rays that are invisible to the naked eye. The scientists who have developed this cutting-edge glass estimate that, if implemented up to its full potential as window glass, it would be capable of meeting up to 40 percent of the nation's energy needs.