We have all heard about placing solar panels upon the roofs of homes and businesses in order to provide clean, cheap, and renewable energy. The problem up until now has been the cost. For a standard home, the panels, wiring, and installation can cost thousands of dollars. Even though this does leave the owner independent and free of monthly costs, that upfront price makes many people think twice. While states such as New Jersey have offered to pay up to 40% of the costs, there are still few private adopters. But as we move foreword, costs of solar technology is going down, and becoming more efficient and much thinner. Though many will still not adopt solar power as their main means of energy, there are many other possibilities that can begin to make solar power more familiar.
Solar powered production cars and boats are still years away, if they come at all, but there are still many uses between the two for solar technology. The most basic way to incorporate solar technology into vehicles would be to attach them to the already present electrical systems, with of course improved batteries. Cars will burn more gas with the air conditioner on, so why not have it powered by clean green solar panels attached to the roof of your car? It’s not just air conditioners either. In a car or boat, any item that requires electricity, from your GPS device to your cell phone charging in the cigarette lighter requires the engine to work harder. Boats are especially known for using a lot of gasoline when it comes to powering electrical appliances. Boats anchored out required either inboard or outboard generators. Solar panels and batteries could replace these, cutting down on gas cost and emissions.
Since solar technologies can power electrical appliances in cars and boats, there is then the possibility for use with hybrid engines. Yes, this is moving closer to the solar powered car, but still allows for a gasoline engine for the consumer who is worried about having a fail safe. Along with the hybrid style engine, there are other less likely, but still legitimate solutions such as a solar base station for electrically charged vehicles. The applications are endless.
At this moment, there are a few companies making portable solar chargers for cell phones, GPS, and other portable devices that outdoors lovers desire will out and away from their homes. But making much more versatile items would probably be best. Let?s take for example, a simple day at the beach. Lets say you have a radio, a GPS, a cell phone, and an MP3 player with you. All of them require a base station at some time, whether for total power (the radio) or charging (everything else). So why not create a cooler with solar panels built into the top with standard outlets on the sides? You?re probably going to bring a cooler with you anyway, so why put it to good use? Admittedly these are only small items that use little electricity, but everyone must start somewhere, so why not here?
There are thousands of creative ways to use solar technology that would begin to introduce the public without to much dependency while bringing down the costs at the same time. It is just important at this time for companies to begin to think outside of the box or new companies to spring up to fill the gap. Solar power is definitely not something that everyone will being willing to dive right into, but if we start working it into modern culture, eventually we can achieve what seems like a science fiction writer’s dream: a solar powered world.
Written by: Adam Hedrick