Tuesday 27 August 2019
When you hear the words ‘solar power’, there may be a few things that cross your mind, like solar panels, batteries or heating systems. But with technology changing everyday and people getting smarter about how they use renewable energy, solar power can do more than just supply our homes with electricity.
So from the sky to the sea, here are five weird ways solar power is being used around the world.
You may have already started to see these nifty gadgets pop up around Australia on streets or along beaches. Smart bins soak up the sun’s rays and charges a battery, then once it starts to fill up, the smart bin compresses the rubbish to create more storage space. By doing this, fewer trips need to be made to collect the rubbish, which results in fewer emissions.
String lights, fairy lights, whatever you call them, are another way to harness the power of the sun. Traditionally used for birthdays, weddings or other celebrations, fairy lights can brighten up any party (literally). A removable solar panel is attached to the lights, which charges a small battery. Then once the sun starts to go down, the battery turns the lights on before turning off when it senses the sun coming up.
Don’t get too excited with this one, this is still in the works, but pretty cool nonetheless. Solar powered coolers are being tested in beehives to increase honey production, as the cooler the beehives, the more likely bees are to produce honey. And no, this doesn’t cause any damage to the beehive, meaning no bees will be harmed in the process.
You might have heard of solar powered cars but what about a solar powered plane? In a project that took around seven years to complete, the first solar plane took flight in Switzerland and travelled approximately 4000 feet above ground. But the best part is, the pilot managed to keep the plane in the sky for around 24 hours, thanks to the stored solar power.
Another project that’s still in the works is solar paint, a type of paint that can absorb water vapour and sunlight before being split to produce hydrogen fuel, which according to the professors developing the paint, is the cleanest source of fuel available. The paint will also be able to work effectively in hot and dry climates, as long as the home is close to the sea.
But until we see solar planes at out local airports and painting out homes with our favourite shade of solar paint, you can still support the growth of solar power by opting for a GreenPower energy plan.
Our energy comparison tool can help you compare some of the GreenPower plans in your area.