Solar gadgets have become increasingly popular, including lights, battery chargers, watches, toys, and clothing. Using the power of the sun to run components saves money because no electricity or batteries are required. Solar power is free, and thin-film technology has made a wide variety of solar gadgets possible.
Many different types of garden lights are available that collect the sun during the day and light up at night. These solar gadgets are useful at drawing attention to a feature that the homeowner would like to highlight, such as a pond or statue. A string of solar garden lights can illuminate a sidewalk or pathway, allowing someone to walk safely in the night. Pool lights with solar panels can be placed in the water to illuminate the depths of a swimming pool.
Solar-powered battery chargers are ideal for the camper and backpacker who may be away from civilization for awhile. Some solar chargers are designed to charge cell phone batteries, and others can charge batteries to run flashlights, radios, and other mobile equipment. Other solar gadgets helpful for the outdoors enthusiast are lanterns, radios, global positioning systems (GPS), and solar cookers. Tents are also available with thin-film cells to provide their own lighting and charge other devices.
Another handy gadget is the solar backpack. This type of backpack has solar panels attached which turn it into a solar power generator. A solar backpack can charge small handheld devices, including cell phones, GPS, and MP3 players. Some manufacturers claim that their solar backpacks can generate enough power to charge a laptop.
There are several types of solar fountains. The most common type is a floating fountain that sprinkles water in a pond or pool. Solar wall fountains and birdbaths can provide an oasis in any yard without needing to string wires. They also provide noiseless operations, unlike a traditional water pump. Solar fountain can be enjoyed indoors by placing the fountain by a sunny window or by setting the panel in the sun and running a cable from the panel to the fountain.
One of the most cost-effective solar gadgets is the solar hot water heater. This heating system utilizes a solar collector, a storage tank, and a pump. Water is pumped through a solar collector which heats the water before sending it to the storage tank. Some solar water heaters are attached to auxiliary systems that run on electricity and kick in when more hot water is needed.