Want to get that special someone on your list something that reflects their love of the sun and solar power? Something other than sunscreen, but aren’t ready or able to put a solar system on your home? Thankfully there are all sorts of great gift ideas out there to get a little more use out of the sun.
There was a time when just about the only solar-powered gift you could give someone was a radiometer and while those are still pretty neat, thankfully those days are long past. People have figured out ways to use solar in all sorts of ways, from charging batteries to cooking with the sun. Here are a few of the coolest solar gadgets out there that might put a glow on their faces this holiday season.
Over the past few years solar chargers have become ubiquitous. Depending on someone’s needs these can be a solar panel on a phone cover like Ascent Solar’s Enerplex Surfr line of chargers. These chargers operate as a phone case that protects a smartphone while allowing the power user to start charging the device simply by pointing its backside to the light.
The same company, Ascent Solar also makes a larger charging system called the Kickr series of chargers. In that arena its challenging solar chargers from a bunch of other companies like Power Traveller, Goal Zero, Bushnell and more. Some of these chargers are flexible modules, which can be literally wrapped or folded up while not in use to minimize the amount of space they take up. Others are made of crystalline silicon and mounted on foldable panels. Most of these types of chargers also have battery storage and can connect to a number of devices like cell phones, computers, tablets and more.
These types of chargers are designed for the rigors of travel and outdoors adventures. Users can leave them at a base camp to charge the battery or other equipment while they go off and have adventures—or a hiker can strap one to their backpack and charge on the go. If you’re looking for one of these types of chargers and batteries for someone. consider how they’ll use it, how much power they’ll need and how big a battery they’ll need. Each adds weight but can be worth it if they don’t have to carry extra batteries with them. Prices for these devices start at under a $100 and go up into the $1,000s for systems capable of serving a base camp on an expedition.
Solar power-packs are another choice for a great solar-powered gift. A number of companies have incorporated photovoltaic cells and chargers inter their bags and backpacks. For instance, Noon makes some beautiful solar-powered bags, like its Elston bag, a solar-powered messenger bag. However, at $447, this is a bit spender than some of the other options out there—but look at it!
Have a certain little someone on your Christmas list that’s interested in solar but isn’t ready for a full-fledged solar charger or back pack? There are a bunch of kits for the budding scientist or engineer out there like the OWI 14-in-1 Educational solar Robot Kit. The site has a selection of solar kits for a variety of age ranges. Other companies also offer solar kits for kids and adults alike. These vary from solar-powered racecars to trains and more.
There are a plethora of solar-powered lights, from Christmas lights like those in the picture from Birddog Distributing that open this piece, to Christmas light strings to yard lights and more. Some of the coolest have got be these glowing, color-changing LED snowballs that can hang in tree, available from Mr. Light.
Then there are solar ovens. These devices can be easily made from kits or purchased. Believe it or not, these kits can reach hundreds of degrees and provide enough heat to cook meat or basically anything else, from pizza to cookies. Solar ovens have also been used as an inexpensive alternative to cooking with dung and wood in developing nations.
Basically there are hundreds of options for fun, unique solar gifts out there. Didn’t find something you liked here? Want something different? Chances are someone’s found a way to put some sun it.Tweet