Take a drive around your neighborhood and chances are those solar panels that once seemed so futuristic are becoming a pretty common site. But, even if you’re not ready to make the plunge to full-out solar power (and pay the price that panels cost), here are four ways you can incorporate solar energy into your home, according to the American Home Shield Home Matters blog:
1. Outdoor Solar Lights
These attractive lights can instantly spruce up any landscape as well as add security in needed spaces. Solar security lights, flood lights or accent lights use solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity, and then store this electricity in special batteries that power the lights, come nightfall. Be aware, both the units and separate solar cell panel units need to be placed in sunny locations, so if shade from trees or structures will prevent adequate sunlight from getting through, the light’s performance will be compromised.
2. Small Solar Devices
Think about that tangle of wires on your desk or kitchen counter where your family charges their growing array of devices. Now imagine if those wires could be replaced by the sun! While it may not seem like big savings to charge personal devices with solar, they actually use more energy than you think. A solar-powered phone and tablet charger can be a simple, inexpensive and effective way to begin introducing the benefits of solar power to your family.
3. Solar Water Heaters
Powered by solar panels that heat the water and deliver it to the storage tank, solar water heaters can replace gas or electric models. You may even be able to take advantage of a specific federal tax credit for solar water heaters. Solar water heaters can be a reasonable alternative to conventional gas or electric-powered models.
4. Solar Cookers
Think of a solar cooker like a sunshine-powered crockpot. Angled reflectors direct solar energy into a special chamber, heating food at relatively low temperatures over the course of many hours (eight to 10, depending on the recipe), just like a traditional slow cooker.