julho 17, 2024

One resolution that we should all be striving towards collectively by now – is to start living more consciously and in an eco-friendly manner, which includes paying attention to, and giving consideration to our energy sources. Curbing fossil fuel consumption has now become a priority, and we have a more positive energy source in mind as an alternative – the Sun! Solar energy has pretty much won over the world, and we see it being utilized in all aspects of design, whether it’s solar-powered kitchen appliances, homes, or even hotels. And, we’ve put together a collection of ingenious solar-powered products that will make a MAJOR difference in your everyday life. From a paper-thin solar cell that could bring solar power to any surface, to solar-powered umbrella canopies inspired by Acacia trees – these solar-powered designs are bound to make some eco-friendly waves this year.

1. The Sunne Light

Dutch lighting brand Sunne partnered up with designer Marjan van Aubel to create their first product – a self-powered solar light that harvests by energy day to light up your home at night. Called, the Sunne light, the sunlight-mimicking lamp gathers solar energy and is in turn exclusively powered by it. It aims to bring the power of the sun into your home!

Why is it noteworthy?

The Sunne light has been equipped with photovoltaic cells and is meant to be hung in front of a window. The suspended lighting fixture collects solar energy through the entirety of the day, and at night it utilizes this energy to illuminate your home. It features an integrated battery that stores the solar energy it collects and hence eliminates any reliance on an external or additional power source.

What we like

  • Inspired by the horizon
  • The lamp remains suspended in the air

What we dislike

2. The Luci Beam LED

Designed by Mpowered, the Luci Beam LED is a 2-in-1 solar-powered headlamp and flashlight, that is power-packed in a water-resistant body, allowing it to be utilized in all kinds of situations without any hassle. The product can provide up to 300 lumens of brightness, which should come in handy in so many use cases: whether you are searching for something in the store room or illuminating your pathway during a hike.

Why is it noteworthy?

Luci Beam’s ability to transform from a handheld to a headlamp is what makes it stand out from other lighting designs in the market! The 2-in-1 headlamp and flashlight is solar-powered but can also be recharged via USB if there is no sun, so you are never left stranded in the middle of an adventure.

What we like

  • Features a micro-USB cable to charge on the go
  • A secure headband for the headlamp and the wrist strap for the flashlight make sure that the device is always securely strapped on

What we dislike

  • We’re not sure how sturdy it is to handle the rough outdoors

3. Paper-thin Solar Cell

MIT researchers created a paper-thin solar cell that is so thin and lightweight, that you can place it on almost any kind of surface! solar panels can generate 370 watts per kilogram of power, which is actually 18 times more as compared to regular solar cells.

Why is it noteworthy?

Not only does this mean that they are viable alternatives to heavy panels that burden your roof, but they can also be installed on almost any surface, including flexible ones like boat sails or tents. This paper-thin solar cell is excellent for tents, especially when they are situated in disaster-stricken areas, where power grids may not be operable at times.

What we like

  • 18 times more powerful compared to conventional cells
  • Can be bent or rolled like a piece of paper

What we dislike

  • Missing a protective layer that will protect the cells from the environment

4. The Invisible Solar

The Invisible Solar are panels that look like these clay tiles but actually have cells underneath them that will be able to generate solar energy and power the building they are placed on.

Why is it noteworthy?

The common monocrystalline silicon cells are made from non-toxic materials and are the “invisible” part of the solar panels. Each panel is able to reach a 7.5-watt peak (peak energy capacity) and weighs around 2 kilograms each.

What we like

  • The ceramic tiles look opaque but are still able to absorb the sun rays that will power the cells
  • They are even self-cleaning as it has photocatalytic properties

What we dislike

  • Aesthetics are unassuming

5. Ecacia

Designed by Samuel Wilkinson, Ecacia is a tree-like structure inspired by one of the species of the Acacia tree that grows in eastern and Southern Africa. This huge umbrella-like structure not only provides shade from sun and rain but can also power amenities located near it or charge electric vehicles as well.

Why is it noteworthy?

It features four programmable LED lamps that give off light to the surrounding areas at the night. Prototypes in the future will also be amped with a cooling mist function so that the public areas can be cooled down during the warm season. The umbrellas will provide a temporary respite to passersby.

What we like

  • Features 708 monocrystalline solar panels to capture solar energy

What we dislike

  • It’s still in the prototype stage!

6. The Tesla Solar Range Extending Trailer

Tesla quietly launched one of its innovations at IdeenExpo in Hannover German. The EV giant unveiled a prototype of yet another product they’re working on – a trailer that attaches to the back of your EV and has been amped with fold-out solar panels and battery packs that help expand your EV’s range.

Why is it noteworthy?

Called, the Tesla Solar Range Extending trailer, the electric vehicle is quite simply put – massive. It’s as big as the other large trailers on the market, and it boasts fold-out solar panels that charge a pretty large battery pack placed below it. This battery pack can be used as an additional power source for the EV.

What we like

  •  Features a SpaceX Starlink internet terminal
  • Amped with solar panels

What we dislike

  • We don’t know if or when it will be launched

7. The Parelio

The Parelio looks like a super fun design, and it is! It is a  solar-powered beach umbrella that is able to harness the power of the sun to create sustainable energy. The accessory is ideal for both lawns and beaches, and it can absorb sunlight, and convert it into electricity that can be used to power phone chargers, coolers, mini-fridges, and machinery as well!

Why is it noteworthy?

Instead of the usual beach umbrella design that folds down towards the earth, this one folds upward towards the sun as it absorbs its energy. The inspiration for the design is a combination of origami and the solar systems on NASA spacecraft.

What we like

  • Amped with foldable photovoltaic panels
  • Folds upwards towards the sun, rather than towards the earth

What we dislike

8. The Solgaard Solarbank Boombox

Solgaard Solarbank Boombox Shell 1

Solgaard Solarbank Boombox 3

Choosing a decent Bluetooth speaker is always a task, but now sustainability has been added to the mix as well! Your tech needs to be more eco-friendly as well now. The aim now is to make “greener” choices for the future of the planet. For this reason, the new Solgaard Solarbank Boombox portable speaker enters the market with a sustainable design.

Why is it noteworthy?

The upcycled plastic design refers to speaker cloth and outer shell from plastic waste. These are waste materials but had been upcycled and used instead. This process is part of the brand’s initiative to pull about 5 lbs of plastic for every product sold.

What we like

  • The Solgaard Solarbank Boombox lets you enjoy music while the battery harnesses the power of the sun
  •  It is sand-proof, water-proof, and drop-proof

What we dislike

  • The speaker’s looks are unimpressive and quite common

9. Stil

Humans need water to survive, however, and people in remote parts of the world are forced to drink unclean, bacteria-laden water just to live, only to get sick from the same. Deploying water purifiers to these locations might sound like the simplest solution, but most of these require electricity which is also difficult to come by, even with solar generators. This concept, however, harnesses the power of the sun in a different way and offers a solution that is sustainable through and through.

Why is it noteworthy?

Stil, in contrast, uses solar energy, not to power electronics but to clean the water almost directly. It uses the age-old method of heating up water to boiling point and then collecting the condensation as clean, distilled water.

What we like

  • Can be positioned and used anywhere

What we dislike

10. The Matte Works Solar Watches

In today’s day and age, the world of smartwatches is run over by those with disposable lithium-ion batteries and planned obsolescence life cycles, the Matte Works solar watches are literally quite a refreshing change! These minimal and clean watches feature an evergreen aesthetic, that quite smartly conceals the solar panels placed below the watch dial.

Why is it noteworthy?

Unlike a smartwatch that ends up becoming ‘old news’ after the company launches its next version a year later, the Matte Works solar watches stay classy and functional for years, while underscoring the importance of relying on renewable energy.

What we like

  • The watch comes with a classic aesthetic that conceals its powerful feature underneath a tinted dial

What we dislike

  • Aesthetically looks quite similar to other watches on the market

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