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6 Cool Uses for Solar Panels

If you live in San Diego, you’ve gotten used to seeing solar panels perched on the rooftops of homes and businesses, but are these panels only meant to power blenders and keep the air conditioning running?

No way, Jose!

Solar panels are like the nerdy kid who just became popular. The trend that started on the West Coast is showing up everywhere – on RVs, planes, backpacks, and even dog houses. Yes, Rover is totally getting into the solar energy game.

It’s time to think out of the box when it comes to California solar. Here are six cool and unique ways you can use solar power in your life.

1. Power Up Your Electric Gadgets and Luxuries

If you’re thinking about investing in solar for your home, consider that your new solar power system can cover all your current energy needs and give you the perfect excuse to invest in some new electric toys.

The top of this list for most people is an electric car.

Gas isn’t cheap here in California, so if you can cruise up the 5 using a battery powered by the sun, that can add up to great savings. Take your pick from the Chevy Volt, to the Tesla Model S (which could go well with your Tesla home battery), 2018 BMW i3, and more. With nearly every major car manufacturer focused on going electric, the list of choices will only keep growing.

But don’t just stop at electric cars.

Now is the time to put in that heated pool or hot tub the kids have always wanted, or the new theater system you’ve always wanted. Add cool outdoor lights to show off your backyard. Heck, your solar power system can even give you enough juice to start mining for cryptocurrency or charge your family robot… you know, when those become more of a thing.

Just make sure you tell your solar power specialist what your future energy needs will be so they can recommend an adequate system size for your home and extras.

2. Take the Ultimate Road Trip with Solar-Powered RVs and Vans

Have you ever dreamed of hitting the open road for weeks or even months at a time to explore every nook and cranny of the country?

Well, you’ll still have to figure out a way to keep the fridge running and the lights on without draining your car battery every few days.

Many enthusiastic RV and van dwellers have wholeheartedly embraced solar power in order to run things like refrigerators, hot plates, lights, water pumps, and even televisions – no matter how far off the beaten path they go.

Alexandra Ulmke who writes the popular blog A Girl and Her Van explains that solar panels “are efficient, relatively cheap, and provide enough power to stay off the grid for weeks on end.” In this educational blog post, she explains step by step how she retrofitted her van with solar panels to keep the energy flowing.

3. Avoid a Dead Phone While on an Adventure with Solar-Powered Backpacks

Portal solar panel helps power hiking gadgets no matter where you are.

In this day and age, our phones, laptops, and other gadgets aren’t just luxuries. They’re necessities.

That’s why it can be a minor emergency when your phone battery goes into the red. What if you’re trying to navigate to a brand-new place, waiting for a call about a sick family member, or hiking in the woods far from civilization?

Fortunately, a growing line of solar-powered backpacks can ensure you always have a ready energy source to charge your gadgets. These backpacks come in all sorts of styles, from sleek and professional to a true adventure pack.

You can even get a solar-powered water bladder backpack for those long solo-runs. Prices for solar-powered backpacks range from this budget-friendly option to this hiker’s dream come true.

Want to be even kinder to your wallet?

Skip the backpack altogether and just pick up this convenient portable solar panel that you can unroll when needed or even attach to a normal backpack during your outdoor adventures. 

4. Discover a New Way to Get Around Town with Solar-Powered Bikes

Just because you don’t have $79,500 to plunk down on a 2018 Tesla Model X doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on your solar-powered transportation dreams.

Electric bikes are becoming an increasingly popular mode of travel, especially in places like San Diego where the weather is gorgeous year-round. Electric bikes offer power-assisted pedaling to help you rocket up hills and cruise for miles while hardly breaking a sweat.

That nice little boost comes courtesy of a lithium ion battery that powers a small engine connected to the bike.

Some e-bike enthusiasts are taking the next step and hooking their batteries up to solar powered systems. One ingenious startup based in Copenhagen, Kvaern, is even offering a cool e-bike that comes with a solar-powered battery charging pack.

5. Go Up, Up and Away with Solar Powered Planes

San Diegans have gotten used to seeing electric-powered cars on the road, but it might be time to start looking up!

Enter Google co-founder Larry Page, who recently took the wraps off a new company called Kitty Hawk.

The company’s main product is an electric, self-flying air taxi that takes off like a helicopter and looks a little like the pod that brought Superman to earth with wide wings attached. The company has been performing stealth flights in New Zealand and working directly with the island nation’s government to develop an official certification process, with the goal of offering commercial flights in three years.

But Kitty Hawk isn’t the only company in this space.

Boeing, Airbus, Uber, and others have all been toiling away, trying to design their own air taxis. What makes Kitty Hawk unique, though, is that its electric power system means that it could potentially be powered using solar technology, creating a truly carbon-free mode of air transportation!

6. Make sure Rover Loves Being in the Dog House with a Solar-Powered Dog House

We spoil our dogs with manicures, dental work and all the latest and greatest toys. It was only a matter of time before Rover’s dog house got upgraded with solar panels to make his abode even more luxurious.

Inventive pet parents are installing solar powered systems that can heat dog houses in the cold winter and power fans during the hot “dog days” of summer (we couldn’t help ourselves). According to an article in PetGuide.com, solar power has also been used to power automatic food and treat dispensers, water purifying systems and even pet cams.

Turns out, staying in the dog house isn’t such a bad place to be.

How Are You Going to Use Solar Power?

Going solar in California has a whole new meaning now, doesn’t it?

While the vast majority of solar systems are installed to power homes and businesses, enterprising and creative people can adapt solar technology for a whole host of unconventional uses and exciting new products. As this technology continues to get cheaper and more prolific, it will truly revolutionize the way we power our world and our lives.

At Semper Solaris, we are proud to be part of this California-led revolution. If you want to join the solar power party, contact us today for a free energy audit of your home.

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