I truly believe one of the reasons I did so badly in math class was a constant distracting fascination with my solar powered calculator.
As solar technology advanced and gardens started to twinkle with the glow of little solar-powered lamps, my obsession grew.
Whether you’re on a lean bread-and-butter budget or a beluga-and-Moët splurge budget, you can pick from the following devices to introduce you to solar technology, help you save money on batteries, reduce your carbon footprint, and elevate your status as eco-geek.
Multifunctional Digital Solar Charger
Ever been slipped fake money? Eliminate your risk with this multi-tasking gadget.
Not only will it check for possible forgeries with a built-in UV money checker, its main function as a charger allows you to top off battery power for other gadgets such as media players, phones, and cameras via a USB cable.
It includes an FM radio to entertain you and an LED flashlight.
iPhone Solar Case
Some solar powered chargers are often clunky and just another awkward travel item to cram into your bag.
Not so with the iPhone solar case which looks and acts just like any other phone protector case.
It protects your phone while the built-in solar panel charges your battery.
Kill two camping needs in one gadget with this water bottle – store water and use it as a lamp.
The SolLight Solar-Powered LightCap Water Bottle holds up to 32 oz of water, and its cap is fitted with tiny solar panels that hold up to 10 hours of energy for its powerful LED lamplight.
For those worried about the light heating up your water, rest assured LEDs do not emit enough heat to warm up your water.
Few of us can spend time without our media players, however battery life can be an issue.
Admittedly, first generation solar powered mp4/mp3 players were bulky, expensive, and provided limited memory. The newer models are lighter and more affordable with a longer lasting charge life.
If cutting edge, eco-friendly gadgets excite you, this Cobalt Solar Powered Media Player will inch you ahead of the crowd in terms of utilizing alternative sources of energy.
Suitable for true tree-huggers and travelers looking for a practical way to store power on a long trip, this rugged backpack includes solar panels and a battery pack, with 11 adapters for all of your electronics.
Its design features built-in wire channels to practically organize your gadgets.
It is made of recycled plastic, making it even greener, lightweight, and waterproof.
Condensation and poor air quality in cramped spaces such as boats and motor homes are well known problems.
The solar vent solves these issues by exhausting hot air and bringing in fresh air from outside which keeps confined areas cool and free from mold and mildew.
Great for both business travelers and backpackers, this solar-powered shaver will keep you looking your best even if there is no electrical socket or water source nearby.
It supports dry shaving only and takes about 8-12 hours to fully recharger itself.
It can also be connected to an electrical outlet for quick charging.
The coolbox acts as a mini-fridge keeping all of your perishables fresh as long as you leave it out in the sun – a hefty dose of irony.
The unit even gets cold enough to act as a freezer and is commonly used by relief and aid organizations to transport medical supplies in areas where there is no electricity.
Never be bothered by mosquitos again with this nifty solar powered mosquito repeller.
This small device makes a noise that is inaudible to humans, but repels the biting bugs.
A tent with its own power supply and built-in lighting is a home away from home!
This tent boasts these creature comforts thanks to a solar panel on top.
Its solar panel stores enough sunlight to power an LED light and a battery pack that can be used to recharge various electronics.
Eco-friendly fashion is a growing niche, and this solar purse fits in nicely with the trend.
Made out of sustainable materials such as rhubarb and walnut dyes, its design incorporates solar panels which charge your mobile phone, iPod, and other electronics.
Sharp has developed a solar-powered LCD TV designed for people living in areas with limited to no electricity.
The TV design is actually pretty cool and since it uses over 70% less power than normal TVs, expect to see this technology filter into high street media stores within the next few years.
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Angela Neal is a full time writer, living in Spain. She spends her time travelling and learning about different cultures. She is fascinated by the little things that we have in common that bring us together, and the differences that can keep us apart.