5 Incredible Solar Powered Innovations for Everyone to Enjoy [LIST]

How renewable energy is being used to transform these everyday items into sources of power

Jul 14, 2014

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Prepare to marvel at these devices and innovations that are using solar technology to improve our everyday lives.

1. THE BENCH THAT CHARGES YOUR PHONE

WHAT: Soofa is an ordinary looking bench that uses solar power to provide enough energy to charge up to two smartphones at a time.
IN DEPTH: The smart benches are the brainchild of three female innovators who wanted to design small-scale solar solutions for the urban environment. Each Soofa bench connects wirelessly to the internet and is able to collect data on the environment, providing citizens with access to previously invisible information about their city.

Photo courtesy Soofa

2. THE BACKPACK THAT GENERATES POWER ON THE MOVE

WHAT: The OffGrid Backpack from Voltaic is equipped with a solar panel that has the capacity to offer a charging time of 7 hours under the sun.
IN DEPTH: Perfect for those who are going on an expedition where there is no electricity, the bag has plenty of space to carry any necessary devices that need a little extra juice. The solar panels are detachable which means that they can be placed another storage device or bike in order to provide energy on the go.

Photo courtesy Voltaic

3. THE ROADS THAT CAN LIGHT THE WAY

WHAT: Solar Roadways is an ambitious project hoping to pave roads with glass-covered solar panels that generate enough power to light the road and even produce excess energy for other uses in the city.
IN DEPTH: Still in the design phase, the project will see a network of roads made out of reinforced glass panels that are designed to withstand the weight of heavy vehicles. As well as self-powered small heaters under the surface that will be able to melt ice in winter, small LED lights will light up dividing lines and spell out warning messages for drivers.

Photo courtesy Solar Roadwaysgraphic design by Sam Cornett 

4. THE TENT THAT POWERS MOBILE DEVICES

WHAT: A durable tent fitted with a solar-powered generator with enough power to charge a range of electrical devices.
IN DEPTH: Tents from outdoor equipment supplier Eddie Bauer have been specially designed to accommodate battery packs from portable solar power experts Goal Zero. The wiring inside the tent is used to charge the innovative battery packs that use solar energy to power home appliances and mobile devices.

Photo courtesy Eddie Bauer

5. THE PARASOL THAT INFLATES WHEN THE SUN STARTS SHINING

WHAT: The Cumulus Parasol is a sun umbrella fitted with solar panels that is activated when the sun comes out.
IN DEPTH: Solar-powered panels power a fan that inflates the body of the parasol, which is made out of a special nylon material. Resembling a cloud, the durable umbrella takes about 20 seconds to inflate and provides comprehensive protection from the sun.

Photo courtesy Studio Toer

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