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Solar Power in Your Everyday Life

Author: ; Published: Nov 5, 2010; Category: Energy, Energy Conservation, Energy Education, Energy sources, Environment, Renewable energy, Technology, Uncategorized; Tags: , , , , , , , , ; Comments: Be the first

Solar Energy

You might use solar power more often than you think. It’s used in all kinds of everyday objects like calculators, cell phones and more!

Many calculators have small solar panels across the top that provide power, sometimes in combination with a battery. These solar panels work just like solar panels you may see on the roof of a house or office building, collecting the sun’s energy and storing it for when you need it. The solar panels must be recharged (by being exposed to sunlight) regularly in order for the calculator to work.

Solar power is used for cell phones, too. It can be especially useful in developing countries where electricity is not always available. For example, in Kenya, mobile phone company Safaricom Ltd. released a phone in mid-2009 that charges itself using the sun’s rays, even on cloudy days. About 17 million Kenyans use cell phones, but only about 1.3 million of the country’s residents have access to electricity to charge their phones. Some people use generators powered by bicycles to charge their phones; others pay businesses a fee to charge their phones for them.1 Solar-powered technology could be a huge help for many people. Solar phones are also being introduced in India, Latin America and other spots around the world.

Today, solar vehicles are primarily demonstration vehicles and engineering exercises, or in solar car races such as the World Solar Challenge and the North American Solar Challenge. These are electric vehicles powered by solar electricity. One day, solar power may be used more in cars as technology progresses, especially in hybrid models.

Learn more about solar energy.

1. “Solar Cell Phones Take Off in Developing Nations,” Moni Basu and Faith Karimi, CNN.com, 21 Aug., 2009; http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/08/21/solar.cellphone/index.html


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