Living in bright sunny Southern California certainly has its benefits. The weather here every day is nearly always 72 degrees and sunny! It is rare that it rains and we do not get any snowfall. Instead we have numerous earthquakes, wildfires because of the dryness, and a lot of people living here.
The sun is certainly much stronger here than it is in the mid-west. I never used to burn at all during the summertime, but now I have to be careful year round to stay in the shade or use sunscreen or else I would end up looking like a lobster. That makes it a great location for solar energy! There are plenty of solar panels on buildings here. A lot of houses have them mounted on their rooftops! I have even heard of a solar panel lease so that people do not have to bear the initial hefty price. Solar energy still has a long way to go before really becoming widespread though. The initial cost of the panels themselves deter a lot of people, plus they are made with pieces that need to be properly recycled at the end of its life.
Since I am renting an apartment currently, solar panels are definitely not an option. The best I can do is to get a solar charger! The picture above is of my first ever solar charger that I decided to try. I spent $25 to get a charger and light combo. I have not really used it as a light much, but it produces a nice clean light in a few varying levels of brightness. Mainly I use it for charging small items that can connect via USB.
Other solar chargers I have seen are attached to backpacks or messenger bags. Some are much smaller and take much longer to charge up. Another one I considered was a compact one that folded out three wings like a fan. So far though, solar chargers are still on the pricey end and have limited use. I generally use the charger for my smartphone, it only charges about 1/8 of the way actually. It can give my bluetooth a full charge though! It is actually best used as a light, when fully charged the light can stay on 45 hours at the lowest light level. Or so the product website tells me. Haha I have never actually tried it before. Seems though that solar chargers for consumers are still best for smaller, less electricity sucking items.
The cost of a solar charger can be hefty depending on which product you choose. I have not used mine long enough to really know if the overall cost is gained back through the money you save by not using electricity as much. Technology will continue to advance and hopefully the price overall will drop! Definitely excited to see where this will go. Once my hubby and I get a place of our own I will look into solar panels for the house. They may not really be feasible yet, but one day…
The potential of using the sun’s energy for power is exciting! It is in theory absolutely limitless and if we can just finesse how we convert it to electricity, then really the sky is the limit! A beautiful option for cleaner energy that will make our planet a lot less polluted.
Do you have any solar panels or solar chargers? What has your experience been like?