Tag Archives: solar

15 Reasons to Go Solar in 2015

orangesunsimmeringThe United Nations has declared 2015 the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies.

This initiative is intended “to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.”

And what greater source of our light to appreciate than our ever-loyal sun? There is no better time to consider—and embrace—solar technology. Here are 15 reasons why going solar in 2015 makes sense.

By doing so, you will reduce energy costs related to household utility bills (specifically, electricity).

Even if solar systems and products cost more upfront, they end up being more affordable to use and maintain over time.

solar panelSolar technology is continually being improved, meaning increased efficiency and lower production costs—which eventually mean savings for the end user.

Handheld solar products don’t depend on electrical outlets for power, making them portable and useful.

The energy gained from the sun is renewable—free and unlimited.

The increasing demand for solar is producing jobs at an ever-increasing rate.

Solar systems and products often require little maintenance over time.

Reduce the need to purchase batteries to power devices.

Decrease your environmental impact (billions of batteries are thrown away each year, all of which end up in landfills.

When using or purchasing solar energy systems, tax credits or rebates may be available, on federal, state, and local levels.

Use of solar-powered devices decreases greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar products and systems are not noisy; they silently produce energy.

Helps prevent the depletion of natural resources.

Solar power is versatile; useful for both high-powered and low-powered devices and applications.

Handheld solar products are reliable in emergency situations.

Whichever of the above reasons help motivate you to make the transition into using solar energy, you can be assured that the change will benefit you and your family for years to come.

5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Fall for Green Energy

red maple leavesLast fall, we shared five ideas for celebrating the end of the summer season in Hot Days, Cool Nights: 5 Ways to End Summer Right.

This year, we think it’s worth sharing a few of these pointers again, along with some additional clever ways to make the most of the autumn season—complete with solar and dynamo technology.

1. Host an Outdoor Fall Food Fest.

fall-foods

What better setting for a fall-friendly cornucopia of rich meats, hearty soups, seasonal vegetables, and pumpkin pie than outdoors where the leaves are falling and the air is crisp?

As long as your guests dress warm enough, it’s as good a time as any to enjoy outdoor dining.

Check out these fall foods recipes to get started. Much can still be prepared on the grill, so invite your friends over for an autumn barbecue they’re sure to remember.

The Goods: Equip yourself with a flexible solar powered light. With 16 LED lights and a strong clamp, the portable light is ideal for outdoor food prep after the sun has already set.

2. Plan a Road Trip.

autumn-trail

Now is the perfect time to bundle up and head to the mountains to watch the colors as they change. If you can make time for one more camping trip, do so.

Whether you’re a hiker, a biker, or simply a nature lover, you’ll be glad you did, because it’ll be another six months before sleeping outdoors is an option for most recreational campers.

The Goods: Roughing it doesn’t have to be rough. Solar products have made outdoor play more convenient, especially when recreation takes place far from home and modern conveniences. So toss that outdated lantern, and replace it with one that utilizes alternative energy. Also, Solarrific’s dynamo walking stick makes a great hiking buddy. It’s retractable, crankable, and complete with lights and a warning siren in case of emergencies.

3. Hold a Roast-and-Ghost

campfire at night

Sometimes getting out of town for an entire weekend just isn’t feasible. So at least plan a backyard roast for the kids, complete with hot dogs, marshmallows, and ghost stories.

The Goods: For extra ghoulish drama (and an eco-friendly experience), provide the little ones with solar/dynamo powered flashlights. Plus, kids love having their very own lights, especially ones they can hand-crank them themselves.

4. Prune, Trim, Beautify.

wheelbarrow on walkway near garden with flowers and pumpkins

Now is an ideal time for pruning, tidying, and making your yard a fall retreat.

The Goods: Rather than using excessive electricity, use a solar-powered water fountain kit and solar-powered lights to transform your landscaping. These bubble stick lights are a lovely addition. Also, uplighting, in particular, lends a quick but dramatic effect to tired planters.

5. Tailgate in Style

football field and players

Football season, a quintessential part of American culture, is the time to show your support for your favorite team. So snag your tickets or make plans to tailgate with friends.

The Goods: When enjoying the big game from outside the stands, be sure to have a portable, solar-powered radio on hand. We especially like the European Dynamo Radio.

From all of us at Solarrific, we wish you a happy fall season!

Rafea: Solar Mama—New Film Inspires

“Rafea is a Bedouin living on the Jordan-Iraq border. She and 30 illiterate grandmothers from around the world will travel to The Barefoot College in India to become solar engineers. If she succeeds, she will power her entire village, but can she rewire the traditional minds of her Bedouin community?”

That’s the question posed by the new documentary, Rafea: Solar Mama. Programs like those provided by The Barefoot College have helped bring about technological and cultural progress in rural areas of the world, progress that starts small but has the power to bring about big changes.

“If a woman with a few years of schooling who has never left her village is able to learn solar engineering in a matter of months, what is impossible in the world?” asks the film’s director, Jahane Noujaim. “We do not believe that a film alone can change societies and cultural taboos… but the people that watch them can.”

That’s the kind of vision that inspires us at Solarrific. To put it simply, it’s why we do what we do. Take a moment to view the documentary’s trailer below and learn why people all over the world are being inspired by Rafea’s story.

Rafea: Solar Mama - watch the trailer here
Rafea: Solar Mama – watch the trailer here

Rafea has gone on to solar electrify 80 homes in her village in Jordan, and now dreams to create a solar engineering training center for women in Jordan. To learn more about how you can support sustainable development in impoverished parts of the world, visit The Barefoot College’s website.

For an Environmental Health Check, Look to the Skies

sunset midway postExamining the condition of our oceans and skies often gives us an idea of how we are faring when it comes to protecting our earth.

The health of these ecosystems indicates whether or not we are hurting or helping our environment.

And these days, it’s not looking good.

Recently, Solarrific founder Grace King discovered a Canadian goose on her property near the East River that seemed to be lingering near her home. King assumed the large bird was just hungry, but when she found it, lifeless, on her porch the next day, she realized that the bird had died in need of help. Upon closer inspection, the goose was entangled in a fisherman’s line and the hook was embedded in its ribcage.

While an isolated case, and while the Canadian goose is nowhere near the threat of extinction, this made us think more about the bigger picture. And it made us wonder, just how many situations just like this one arise due to humans’ carelessness, without us even knowing?

We recently discovered a documentary that sheds light on that very issue, a little-known problem that is affecting a number of birds. The film, titled Midway, is to be released in 2014. Click below to have a look at the trailer. We dare you not to wipe your eyes.

Midway snap

If you’re like us, watching that video is a sobering reminder that we as humans need to be more aware of our environmental impact. Mindfulness doesn’t just help protect our earth and its resources, but it preserves the health and the lives of the other creatures that live here.

This kind of awareness should extend to even daily decisions that may seem minor, like whether or not to recycle a small piece of plastic, throw it in the trash, or chuck it out the car window. It involves having an acute awareness of our environmental footprint. In other words, we should be asking ourselves the following question: How does my daily existence affect the environment and the lives it sustains?

Pursuing an environmentally mindful lifestyle starts with a few small adjustments, but these changes can make a very big impact. Here are a few questions for self-examination.

  • Do I use products powered by alternative energy (solar-powered, hand-crank, etc.), rather than devices that require an endless supply of batteries to continue functioning?
  • Do I recycle and/or compost waste?
  • How diligent am I about conserving natural resources (water, etc.) in my home? Do I wait for a full load of laundry or dishes before running the washer or dishwasher (respectively)?
  • Do I refrain from littering, even when properly disposing of trash is inconvenient?
  • When away from population centers and in the great outdoors, do I leave my environment in a better condition that I found it?

As you probably know, Solarrific provides consumers with green-power alternatives (solar and hand-cranking) to commonly used devices such as flashlights and phone chargers. Awareness of our impact on the environment drives everything we do, from how our products are manufactured to their final application.

Therefore, we invite you, too, to make mindful decisions when purchasing and using consumer products, as well as when engaging with our natural world. This way, we can help preserve our earth and all its creatures for future generations.

Why This is the Year to Go Solar—14 Quotes to Inspire Green Living in 2014

Every year, right around January 1st, millions all over the world resolve to eat better, exercise more, or otherwise make more mindful decisions related to personal health and well being.

But what about making other changes—changes that impact our planet as a whole? In fact, why not make 2014 the year you embrace solar technology?

sun-quoteRest assured, that doesn’t necessarily mean a complete overhaul of your home’s heating and electrical system (although there is a wealth of information online to help you make such a transition if you’re so inclined!). Sometimes making significant lifestyle changes begins with taking baby steps.

Here are some affordable things you can do to get started:

  • Contact your representatives to let them know where you stand on the use of fossil fuels versus alternative energies. It doesn’t hurt to call your power company, too, and ask them to support these latter forms of energy, such as solar, wind, and geothermal.
  • Opt for solar-powered devices, such as chargers, flashlights, and radios (peruse our online catalog to learn more about how these products work).
  • Use passive solar heating by opening curtains/blinds on the south and west facing sides of your house and removing solar shade screens.
  • To save energy (and coin), use solar-powered outdoor lights, especially during the darkest months of the year.

Believe it or not, making even small adjustments can make a big difference! Here are just some of the ways going solar (particularly by using solar-powered devices) makes sense:

  • Conserve energy, save money (the money you’ll save on batteries alone is ample reason).
  • Set an example for your children when it comes to mindful energy use.
  • Solar gadgets are convenient, efficient, and they look cool, too.

Still need a little inspiration? Here are 14 quotes from top thinkers that we hope will motivate you to think solar for the New Year!

“The sun is the only safe nuclear reactor, situated as it is some ninety-three million miles away.” –Stephanie Mills

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” –Mahatma Gandhi

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” –Theodore Roosevelt

“There is a great need for the introduction of new values in our society, where bigger is not necessarily better, where slower can be faster, and where less can be more.” –Gaylord Nelson

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead

“We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.” –Wendell Berry

“Perhaps the time has come to cease calling it the ‘environmentalist’ view, as though it were a lobbying effort outside the mainstream of human activity, and to start calling it the real-world view.” –Edward O. Wilson

“Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species—man—acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world.” –Rachel Carson

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” –Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“The next step in man’s evolution will be the survival of the wisest.” –Deepak Chopra

“Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breath the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something.” –Carl Sagan

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” –Moses Henry Cass

“The earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.” –Pope John Paul II

We’d love to know what resolutions you’ve made this year. Tell us in the comments below!

 

Solar-Powered Philanthropy: 10 Ways the Sun Keeps Giving

sun-in-handsOne of the year’s most significant holidays is officially behind us. Presents have been opened, feasts have been consumed, and family members are making their way to their respective homes. But while you’re taking down decorations and depositing gift wrapping in the trash, remember that, just because one of the country’s biggest days of gift-giving has passed, there is still plenty of room for generosity.

For one thing, when it comes to solar technology, many organizations’ philanthropic efforts have led to substantial improvements in living conditions and a better quality of life for individuals in less developed nations. Here is a round-up of some notable solar projects that are taking place around the world:

Oftentimes, helping those in need starts right in our own communities, but it’s inspiring to see how solar technology is making a greater impact worldwide—and changing people’s lives in rural communities abroad.

Solar Means Business [INFOGRAPHIC]

A few weeks ago, we shared highlights from the Solar Means Business report, recently released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Vote Solar. The report ranks the top 25 brands to install solar power at their warehouses, stores, and facilities; and research therein reveals that these organizations alone create enough solar energy to power 73,400 American homes (wow)!

To see a graphic look at the top ten businesses mentioned in the report, take a look at the Solar Means Business infographic below.

Solar_2013_Infographic

For a closer look at the research, view the full report here.

Hurricane Sandy—A Year Later

Last month, we reflected on Hurricane Sandy’s one-year anniversary and shared the 12 Must-Haves for Your Hurricane Preparedness Kit via the Solarrific blog. Well, just yesterday, Fast Company posed a question via Twitter that’s similarly worth pondering:

Snap 2013-10-25 at 12.27.38

In the article, several serious issues are discussed, including our ever-growing reliance on the power grid, and why cultivating a “culture of resilience” is so important. We think it’s worth a read, and we also recommend viewing the slideshow of sobering images depicting the storm’s aftermath.

On a smaller scale, are you and your family prepared for a natural disaster? In case you missed our hurricane preparedness post, here again are the items everyone should have in their basic Disaster Supplies Kit, courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). We also include helpful links to several solar- and dynamo-powered products to get your kit started:

  • One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
  • A minimum three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle (used to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air), plastic sheeting, and duct tape (to build a shelter if necessary)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter, or solar charger

What else do you keep in your disaster preparedness kit? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

12 Must-Haves for Your Hurricane Preparedness Kit

storm clouds over oceanWhile 2013 has been relatively quiet on the storm front, today is the climatological peak of the hurricane season, according to data from the NOAA.

This means that, historically, there have been more tropical storms and hurricanes on this day than any other.

On the whole, hurricanes have caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damage in recent years. Just as threatening is the danger they pose to personal safety and the potential loss of life due to the speed and volatility of these weather patterns. (A recent NASA study revealed that Hurricane Sandy’s path followed a trajectory that happens, on average, only every 700 years. How’s that for unpredictable?)

In fact, next month marks the one-year anniversary of the Atlantic superstorm that caused 150 deaths, left thousands homeless, and caused billions of dollars in damage. What a sobering reminder that where national disasters are concerned, preparedness is key.

blue hurricane evacuation sign with arrow

So how exactly do you prepare your family for a hurricane? Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggest building a basic Disaster Supplies Kit. Their proposed list contains the following recommended items:

  • One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
  • A minimum three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle (used to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air), plastic sheeting, and duct tape (to build a shelter if necessary)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter, or solar charger

Notice the bolded items in the list above? Did you know that all of these products are available with a solar or dynamo (hand-crank) option? We believe (and so suggests the NOAA) that it’s absolutely critical to use products that utilize alternative energy during an emergency. Here’s why.

While battery powered products may be more accessible for purchase, is it worth betting your loved ones’ safety on them when a disaster is fast approaching? Keep in mind, all batteries eventually run out of juice, and that’s if they haven’t already expired while in storage. And when it comes a cellular phone chargers, one that uses solar power can be, literally, a lifesaver, especially when power outages and emergency travel make electricity difficult to find.

Considering that hurricane season is at its historical peak, what better time to prepare? This month we are offering discounts on our solar and hand-crank radios, including the following:

Solarrific European Style Dynamo Radio
Solarrific European Style Dynamo Radio – $15.99
Solarrific four in one flashlight radio alarm charger
4-in-1 Flashlight (Plus Radio/Alarm/Charger) – $16.99
AM/FM/WB dynamo crank radio cube
AM/FM/WB Crank-powered Radio Cube – $13.99

Also, see our solar flashlights and chargers, all of which run on solar and dynamo-generated energy.

For additional information about how to make a plan and build your preparedness kit, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).