Solar power is cheaper than utility power and better for the environment. These ten devices showcase just what we can do with this renewable energy source.

10. Sun Bricks

Equipped with two amber LEDs, these solar-powered “Sun Bricks” are self contained and will stay lit for up to 8 hours — if placed in sunlight during the day. Available now for $59.95 (pair). [Source]

9. Solar-Powered Security Camera

Smarthome unveils a new motion-sensing outdoor security camera that is powered solely by sunlight. Best of all, this device only transmits A/V when movement (up to 26-feet) is detected — otherwise, it remains in standby mode to conserve energy. Available now for $159.99.

If it was just a sparrow, the 2.4-GHz camera will stop transmitting a preset number of seconds after the moving object leaves its field of view

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8. Sol8

Sol8 is an ideal option for anyone who works outdoors and needs a low-cost alternative power source. This 9.5-pound briefcase sports two solar panels that generate 13W — 14VDC/750mA — of power and detachable connectors for your laptop/electronics/etc. It’s priced at just $139.99.

This incredibly handy package of power is great to run laptops, small electric hand tools, DC refrigerators, GPS systems, portable electronics, and a whole lot more! It’s also great to charge your batteries.


7. LightCap

The LightCap is basically a solar powered water bottle which has a built-in LED light in its lid. It features a waterproof solar panel, battery pack, and “will stay bright for hours while the rechargeable Ni-Cad batteries will last for at least 300 cycles” on a four hour charge — in sunlight. This device measures 8 ¼” tall and 3 ¾” wide with a 32 oz capacity.

Set it in the sun or hang it from a railing during the day and you’ll have light all night long!


6. Venturi

Limited to just 200-units worldwide, the “Venturi” is touted as the world’s first ‘energy-autonomous’ vehicle. It’s slated for release in 2009.

Venturi equipped the amazingly nerdy car with a solar panel and a wind turbine so it can get power from the elements. It also has a plug for recharging from an outlet, which I predict any owner will be using a lot, as the panel and turbine combined give you only something like 14 miles a day


5. Sharp Lumiwall

Shipping next year is the Sharp Lumiwall, which consists of “thin-film transparent solar panels sandwiched between pieces of glass.”

During the day, the glass panels store energy using the solar arrays. While the sunlight shines on them, they look like smoked glass windows, but then at night they turn into soft-glowing illumination devices


4. Solar-Powered Wii

Ok, so it’s not 100% solar-powered, but nonetheless a nifty setup. It uses a single 2o-watt solar panel to power the kiosk for up to 6-hours.

The guys wheel it down to Venice Beach where bewildered passersby get their game face on


3. Solar-Powered Bike

The “Solartrike” is a solar-powered bike that “can go 15-18mph and 10 miles per charge.” It sports either a 200W or 400W motor, 80W solar panel, and a 2×2 square steel frame. Prices here.

Some can be set up to go as fast as 25 miles per hour. They take 6-8 hours per charge. They can be custom designed


2. Hybrid Solar Lighting

What sets Hybrid Solar Lighting apart from traditional solar power is that it “captures sunlight and channels it directly into a room, using optical fibers” instead of converting the light into electricity.

If used in a top-floor of a building, HSL can deliver 50 percent of collected sunlight as indoor lighting…far more efficient than photovoltaic cells, which convert about 15 percent of sunlight into electricity and then have to change this electricity back into light


1. Solar-Powered Aircraft

The NASA Pathfinder is a solar-powered aircraft “that could stay aloft all day, powered only by sunlight.” It features a “backup battery system that can provide power for between two and five hours to allow limited-duration flight after dark.”

Pathfinder flies at an airspeed of only 15 to 25 mph. Although pitch control is maintained by the use of tiny elevons on the trailing edge of the wing, turns and yaw control are accomplished by slowing down or speeding up the motors on the outboard sections of the wing.