As soon as we think about the energy we need to power our houses, we tend to think large. Big dams. Big nuclear power plants. Big wind turbines. Even if we speak about creating solar power, we’re still thinking large, as in large arrays of solar panels onto the roof.
However, I believe the biggest trend in house energy will be little solar. Instead of a single house electricity plant juicing everything, our devices and appliances will increasingly draw their own electricity directly from sunlight, in tandem with large solar power production and other alternative energy approaches coming on line.
How do I know? Because this is what the Pentagon needs.
Technologies are developed just if someone invests in their own development. For small stuff — for example better cell phones and TVs — private companies with an incentive to get wealthy in the consumer market make those investments.
But large stuff requires big investments. And nobody is a larger investor in technology than the U.S. military.
For instance, the computer, the world wide web, the cell telephone and GPS all began as Pentagon research projects. Even Siri, the voice helper in the Apple iPhone, has its roots in a huge military project.
In the past ten years, the Pentagon has waged two significant wars, one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan. An immense quantity of time, money and effort has been spent getting gasoline tanker trucks across hundreds of miles of hostile territory to gas tanks, Humvees and first and foremost, gas-powered generators which heat water, electricity computer control centers and much more. And they had to transport millions of batteries for flashlights, mobile communications equipment and other demands.
All this dangerous and expensive transportation of gasoline and batteries occurs in areas where sunlight is beaming down unfathomable amounts of free energy. That fact hasn’t been lost on the Pentagon. So for the previous decade, they’ve been investing in startups developing lower-cost mobile solar power technologies. In the end, their vision is to create a cheap combination of solar power generators and small solar panels, which is integrated into the most objects which are using the power.
All this investment has hastened the rate of change. Military investment in U.S. companies has helped those businesses compete against Chinese companies in the race to the cost bottom for solar technology.
In a nutshell, it means that little, mobile solar power is getting much cheaper and much quicker than it otherwise would have, which solar is “winning” the struggle between alternate energies. For small solar devices, prices are dropping so quickly that very soon, adding panels to a large array of electrically powered household appliances and gadgets will make a good deal of sense.
Solar Panel Windows
Can It Affect?
Solar research is enabling the development of solar power technologies which blend into their environments, which makes them simpler to incorporate into fine home design. Only last month, UCLA researchers announced the development of transparent solar cells. The technology can be employed to develop ordinary dwelling windows which generate electrical power.
What’s intriguing about the technology is that it captures energy in the infrared spectrum, although not the visible spectrum. The technology would allow solar panels to be fabricated at a very low cost, too, according to investigators.
Electree – GBP 349
Solar Gadget Chargers
Nearly everyone’s got a cell phone nowadays, along with a number of other consumer electronics devices which have to be billed every night. The consumer electronics industry has generated a world of solar charging options for mobiles and other devices. Most are designed for backpackers and travelers. But others, such as this Electree solar bonsai, are designed to become permanent fixtures in your home.
The “tree” is actually composed of individual modules, which you connect together to create the solar panel of your pick — large, little, high-capacity, low-capacity. It is up to you.
The Electree includes a battery at its base, which the solar panels charge. Subsequently, when you plug various devices into the USB port, then they will be billed just as if they were plugged into the wall outlet.
Solar Lamps Without Electricity
The conventional approach to solar is to convert light into electric power, which is usually stored in a battery, then used to power items such as lamps. However, a more direct approach is to store the light itself.
Gionata Gatto and Mike Thompson have developed a lamp called the Trace M, which stores light during the daytime, then “glows” at night to present ambient outside lighting. They utilize a polyurethane rubber using photoluminescent skins.
The Trace M has been designed for exhibition, but a lot of products which use this exact same concept exist, usually on a much smaller scale such as nighttime lights and ambient outside lighting.
Aluminium Solar Wave Wall Clock – $149
Solar Without Sunlight
A few types of house devices require just a tiny quantity of electricity — such a little amount that to power them does not even require direct sunlight, just the ambient light typical inside a house during the day. Solar-powered versions of these devices can remove the batteries normally demanded.
One instance is the Muji Aluminum Solar Wave Wall Clock, a standard-looking wall clock using a solar panel regarding the size of a credit card on the face. Muji products are nice too as they have no visible branding.
Replacing one battery thing with a solar-powered one will not create much of a difference. However, as you substitute small electric devices around the house, it is a great idea to search for solar options. Over time, the savings and environmental advantages accumulate.
Automower Solar Hybrid – $2,999.95
A few types of solar power use the sun’s energy not just to reduce electricity consumption, but to boost the quantity of time the devices can operate between costs. One great example is the Husqvarna Automower Solar Hybrid. It is a robot lawn mower that cuts your grass with no nagging.
The whole top of the mower bears solar panels, enabling it to keep on cutting the grass on sunny days without needing to go back to its charger (which plugs into a standard outlet).
Quite simply, the solar panels permit the lawnmower to utilize a much more energy-efficient motor overall, without sacrificing function time.