Saturday, August 25, 2007

I heart solar power

Who knew I could look longingly at a water heater? But apparently, if you put the word "solar" in the name of something, I want to own it. Solar shit on a stick? I'll take two.

But seriously, I love solar-powered things. Here are some cool solar whatsits I've come across in my web surfings:
$14 Solar roast coffee
$20 Solar phone/iPod/mp3 player chargers
$25 Solar robot!!! (I doubt I could say the phrase "solar-powered robot" aloud without clenching my jaw to contain my delight.)
$25 Solar flashlight
$30 Solar battery charger
$63.53 Shares in SunPower (SPWR), the company putting solar panels on Wal*Mart
$126 Solar panels
$170 Solar backpack
$50,000 Solar car
Priceless: Shares in EI Solutions, the company putting solar panels on the Google headquarters
Priceless: Solar air conditioning
Priceless: Solar dress

In browsing to find the silly solar bikini (for all your near-naked outdoor phone charging needs) I'd seen once, I instead found this lovely little animated movie called Solar, which makes solar power look exhausting. I suppose someone does have to dig the silica out of the ground.


Thomas J. Brown said...

Solar is pretty cool in theory, but it's just not that great yet.

Solar cells are still extremely inefficient; typical cells are less than 15% efficient (at best), and even the high-efficiency solar cells are all less than 50% efficient (the current record as of this writing is 42.8%).

Many of the high-efficiency cells also contain Cadmium telluride, which is a heavy metal that is a cumulative poison.

Solar energy is a fantastic resource, but is still rather unwieldy. Hopefully the ongoing research into solar technology will yield cells with over 70% efficiency, and without any toxins.

Thomas J. Brown said...

I just saw this on the MAKE blog:

How to make your own solar bag.