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Solar Outdoors Products Keep Civilization Close

Category: Solar Outdoors

Solar Products Keep Civilization Close

The abundance of natural solar energy makes it a perfect energy source for the outdoors. From cooking food to cooling food, warming water for showers to cleaning water for drinking, or providing energy for lighting and other electrical devices, solar can be harnessed to for use in a wide variety of outdoor applications. In this article, we summarize some of the major potential outdoor applications for solar energy products.

Solar Ovens

With a solar oven, you can enjoy the art of cooking outdoors without the cost and pollution of common cooking fuels, like natural gas, charcoal, or electricity. By collecting and trapping the sun's energy and converting it to heat, solar cooker ovens are able to cook your food thoroughly and at little expense. In general, the solar oven cooking times are comparable to conventional ovens, although this will depend to some degree on the abundance of sunshine. Solar ovens can be used at home in place of barbecues, indoor ovens, and stovetops. Most solar ovens are also portable, so you can take them with you on any outdoor adventure

There are three main ways that solar energy is used to cook food. The first is trapping heat. A glass or plastic cover allows light into an insulated box where the sunlight heats up the air inside a solar cooker.

The second way for solar energy to cook food is through concentrating sunlight. A mirror or other reflective material concentrates light into a focused cooking area, making it more intense than it would otherwise be naturally.

The last way that solar energy can be used to cook food is to convert light to heat. Lining the inside of a solar oven with a black material helps to turn light into heat, which is then absorbed by the cooking utensils.

Solar ovens come in a variety of sizes and shapes depending on your needs--you may want to check out solar ovens such as the Tulsi Hybrid Solar Oven or the Global Sun Oven. Regardless off the style you choose, a solar oven will allow you to cook easily and safely while reducing your energy costs and shrinking your carbon footprint.

Solar Kitchen

Besides solar ovens, there are other kitchen appliances that can be powered through solar energy. There are several innovative and power-saving products now available that could help you further reduce your kitchen energy requirements, including solar refrigerators and solar freezers.

If you have a second fridge in your garage, want a refrigerator for your cabin, or need a portable cooler for food storage, you may want to consider solar energy. Powering your cooler with solar allows you to keep food cool and safe on RV and boating trips, while camping, or if you are out for an evening picnic. A solar powered fridge or freezer is also a great option. These appliances are usually smaller and much more efficient than conventional appliances and are powered by additionally installed solar modules outside of your home.

Solar Showers

Bring the comfort of a warm shower with you with a portable solar shower. You may want to rinse off with warm water after a long hike, take a shower while camping, or wash your hands while in the garden, all of which are possible with solar showers.

Portable solar showers can range in size from 2 1/2 to 5 gallons or more and are generally portable and easily assembled. Simple set-ups for a solar shower for camping involve shower bags which you hang from a tree or a pole; more elaborate designs include stands and temperature gauges to regulate the level of heat. Most are made with dark materials that absorb the sun's warmth and transfer it to the water in as few as three hours.

Solar Water Distillation

If you are on the road and concerned about the quality of water available to you, a solar-powered water distiller is an economical and safe choice. Water from any source, be it salty, dirty, or otherwise non-potable, can be added to a solar water distiller to produce clean, safe drinking water.

Most solar distillers use a parabolic mirror to focus the sun's energy on a container of water. As it heats up, the water evaporates and then condenses following classic distillation methodology. In the process, pathogens are destroyed by the high temperatures, rendering the water pure and safe to drink. Portable waters are useful for outdoor adventures, overseas travel, and even home use.

Solar Flashlights and Lanterns

Keeping a solar flashlight or solar lantern handy at home, in your vehicle, or while on vacation is a great way to be prepared for the unknown. Whether you're walking in the woods back to your campsite or organizing an emergency kit for power outages, a solar flashlight is a great solution. A solar lantern for camping is an excellent way to provide light to your campsite without carrying heavy batteries.

As long as the solar collectors, which are built into the device, receive ample sun during the day, your portable light will be ready when you need it. You may never have to worry about dead batteries again. Many of these devices also come with built-in radios and connections for charging cell phones and other portable electronics, making them even handier in emergencies.

Portable Solar Power Systems

Many of us want to enjoy the luxuries that electricity affords even when we're in remote locations, such as a wilderness cabin. With portable solar power systems, you can take your electricity with you to power small appliances, electronics, lights, and more. These PV systems can be adapted for both AC and DC power applications, depending on how your current system is set up.

Most portable solar power systems include several key components, including:  

  • Photovoltaic (PV) modules: Otherwise known as solar panels or solar modules, the PV modules collect the sun's energy for use as electricity. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be purchased either as 12V or 24V.
  • Mounting system: Your PV modules can be mounted to a room, a pole, or on the ground and should be positioned to take advantage of optimal sunlight.
  • Charge controller: Regulating the amount of current the PV modules feed into your batteries, the charge controller prevents over-charging batteries and block reverse current leaking to the PV array.
  • Batteries: Once the energy is collected, it is stored in the batteries until it is needed by you.
  • Inverter: An inverter will take the DC current stored in the batteries and convert it to AC power if required.

Determining the size of your system will require calculating how much energy you use, your solar potential, and how much energy you can store as well. Portable solar power systems are a great way to use less fossil fuel energy without giving up the comforts of life. Portable solar power systems can be moved from one location to another, making them more versatile than other solar systems. They can provide electricity for you in completely off-grid environments where there is no access to traditional energy systems, but can also be used to partially supply energy where regular electricity is already available.

Solar Ventilation

A solar ventilation system may not typically be considered a solar product for the outdoors, but there are applications that you can use these systems for that may make it more comfortable to enjoy the outdoors. These products have typically been applied to freshen the air in a rest room, cool the air in an attic, or reduce the temperature in a hot car. They can also be used to provide ventilation in a barn, garage, shed, or small cabin. Rather than spending money and energy on running fans to circulate air, you can choose ventilation options that run on solar.

Most solar ventilation fans come with the solar collectors built into the device, requiring that they be installed on your home's rooftop or the exterior of your RV or cabin. The added benefit of these fans is that they do not require any wiring, so can be installed even where there are no electrical outlets.

Some solar ventilation kits include temperature controls, allowing you to determine when the fan is turned on and when it remains idle. They are also weatherproof to withstand the natural elements.

Enjoy the Convenience of Home with Solar-Powered Devices

With solar energy products, you can keep the ease of modern conveniences close at hand, even when you're in the great outdoors. You may want to consider using solar for various systems, appliances, and portable devices you regularly use to achieve noticeable energy savings and a smaller footprint.