There are two main types of energy: nonrenewable and renewable. The former relies on finite resources such as oil and coal, where the latter relies on resources that are not exhaustible. Experts recommend using renewable energies since they are safer for the environment and more affordable than nonrenewable energies.
If you want to switch to a renewable energy source, it’s best to choose solar energy, since it is one of the most widely available and cleanest types of renewable energy. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to harness the power of the sun at home. Try these five homemade solar projects:
Heat Water Outside
It’s estimated that your water heater accounts for about 13% of your annual energy bill. Reduce your household expenses by using solar energy to heat water in your backyard.
Fill a large container with cold water from your sink, hose, or bathtub. Then, leave this container outside on a hot, sunny day. Once the water warms up, use it to clean your patio or give your dog a bath. You will have enough to complete these tasks without having to rely on your water heater.
Switch to Solar-Powered Chargers
Most smartphone chargers use power supplied by electrical outlets. However, there are products that are designed to charge your smartphone using solar energy instead.
Solar-powered power banks are small enough to carry with you, so you can charge your phone on the go. You won’t need access to an electrical outlet to use these products, which makes them perfect for hiking, backpacking, or camping trips.
Although these power banks use energy from the sun, you don’t need to be outside to use them. Simply place the power bank next to a sunny window so it can generate enough power to charge your device.
Install Solar Lighting Outdoors
Lighting accounts for a significant portion of your home’s energy usage. Switching to outdoor lighting that is powered by solar energy can drastically reduce your energy consumption and monthly utility bills.
Even though these lights are powered by solar energy, they will still work at night when the sun is no longer out. The lights are designed to charge automatically during the day when the sun is out. Then, they can stay charged for up to 12 hours, so there will be more than enough power to last until morning.
It’s best to look for lights that only turn on when motion is detected. This way, the lights will only turn on and use energy when movement is detected.
Build A Solar Oven
You don’t need a grill to cook outdoors—in fact, all you need is the sun. Grab an empty pizza box and draw a large square on the top. Then, use a utility knife to cut three out of the four sides of this square. This will create an open flap on the top of the pizza box. Fold this flap backward slightly along the side that is still attached to the box.
Next, line the inside of the flap and the inside of the box with aluminum foil. Glue the foil in place so it is secure. Use plastic wrap to cover the flap’s opening on the pizza box lid. You can use shipping or electrical tape to secure the plastic wrap in place. Glue a piece of black paper to the bottom of the box. This piece of black paper will serve as the oven’s “heat sink.”
Finally, use a wooden pencil to prop the flap up so it stays open. The next time it’s sunny outside, place a marshmallow on top of the heat sink. Turn the oven so it is facing the sun and check back in about 30 minutes to see how the marshmallow has melted. If it works, this means your solar oven has been set up properly and is ready to use!
Invest in Solar Panels
Solar panels are devices that convert sunlight into electricity. These panels can either be installed on your roof or placed in your yard to generate electricity that can be used to power your home.
The cost of solar panels can range anywhere from $16,000 to $26,000 depending on the size of the panels. But you may qualify for tax incentives or rebates that will offset some of these costs. Furthermore, installing solar panels can reduce your electric bill by about 50% per month. This means the solar panels may end up saving you money over time.
These are some of the many ways you can make the switch to solar energy at home. By completing one or more of these projects, you can reduce your carbon footprint and do your part to protect the planet!