With escalating powerbills and so much talk of renewable energy millions of people arethinking about solar power these days. Harnessing the sun’s energymakes sense because it is clean, green, and saves money in the longrun. But the reality is that the cost involved with installing panelsand collectors is still out of reach for the vast majority ofhomeowners. Fortunately there are some cheap and easy ways to make thesun work for you.
Passive solar meanssimply using or blocking the sun’s rays to heat or cool your home. This means that using your window coverings wisely can save you a tonon your power bills. Simply closing or angling your blinds to keepdirect sunlight out can drop the interior temperature by 10 degrees. Try closing the window coverings on the south side of your house whenyou leave for the day during the summer months. Without the sun’s hotlight shining in the windows, your air conditioner won’t have to workas hard. And in the winter of course doing the opposite can help heatyour house. There tons of great looking blinds, awnings, and windowfilms to help you harness or block the sun’s powerful rays.
Lightingthe exterior of your home used to be tricky because you had to find away to get power to the lights. But with the advancement in renewablepower technology, these has gotten a lot easier. Solar garden lights,security lights, and area lights now come completely integrated withpanel, battery, electronic eye, and lights. Installation is usually aseasy as hanging a picture and the prices start at less than $50. Sowhether you are trying to put some accent lights in your garden, shedsome light in your tool shed, or trying to brighten those dark steps,lights powered by the sun are a great alternative.
Thesedays we carry so many electronic devices around with us it kind offeels like we are a walking Radio Shack. The hardest part is figuringout how to keep these things charged. Now there are cool-lookingportable solar chargers that will keep your iPod or blackberry runningin a pinch. They are lightweight, folding, and very durable to handlethe rigors of travel and outdoors situations. And if you are indoorsand in need of a quick charge most of them will work by simply themputting near a window.
Home and Garden Decor
For your outdoor spaces, solar fountainslend a soothing touch to any setting. All they require is a littlewater and a sunny spot and they can surround you with pleasant soundsor keep your pond aerated. Solar lamp post lights lend a nice touch to any entry area and tell your arriving guests you have good taste and care about the planet.
Plug and Play Kits
Ifyou need a small power source for your cottage, RV, or to take with youinto the wilderness, there are great options out there. There are solar power kitsthat include the panel, the electronics, instructions, and all thewiring you need to get started. For example, a kit could power alittle stereo, light, and charging your phone down at the boathouse orout in the barn. Or they can keep your RV battery charged as youtravel around the country. You’ll need a screwdriver, the ability tofollow instructions, and a sunny place for the panel. Many of the kitsstart at less than $100 and for $500 you can get a nice little systemand expand it later.
So going green doesn’t have to break the bank. After all, money is green too right?