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Weird and wonderful solar technology uses

solar powered_car_01_06_12Increasingly over recent years, solar technology has been used to provide homeowners with a cost effective source of energy. From the simple garden greenhouse to night lights on the patio, water-heating roof-top solar cells to air fresheners, harnessing the sun’s rays has never been so achievable and affordable.

Some people though have very different aspirations for the sun’s power. This month Wolf Innovations has been looking at some of the world’s weird and wonderful uses of solar technology. Here are our top three ‘awards’ for solar ingenuity.

1. ‘Solar Energy having the biggest impact’ Award: Sahara Forest Project

As an example of how solar energy could help to shape the future of mankind, there is no better. The project, due to launch in Qatar in December 2012, aims to demonstrate how solar energy can power a large scale desalination programme providing fresh water to the desert allowing sustainable food production in the harshest of climates.

2. ‘Solar energy at its most impressive’ Award: Planet Solar – Solar Powered Boat

Maybe it’s down to the delicious chocolate or maybe the clean mountain air. Whatever the reason, Swiss born adventurer Raphael Domjan has been inspired to build and pilot what he hopes will be the first boat, entirely powered by solar energy, to sail around the globe. Setting off on September 27th 2010 the six man crew propelled across the oceans via solar energy absorbed across the staggering 5,380 square feet of solar panelling. They arrived in Monaco on May 12th this year, having successfully completed their journey. The boat is a jaw dropping feat of solar innovation.

3. ‘Solar energy used to make us smile’ Award: Jubilee Solar Queen

To mark the occasion of the Queens’ Diamond Jubilee, you can purchase a miniature statue of her majesty dressed in purple, clutching a handbag and using the power of the sun to deliver a royal wave to her subjects. Genius.

While solar technology undoubtedly still has a fair way to go, it would certainly seem that the only limitations to solar energy solutions are those set by our own imaginations.

Vince Thorby and his wife, Amanda, own Wolf Innovations, a small family run business based in Ely, Cambridgeshire, that specialises in designing and manufacturing affordable solar powered solutions for homes. They are passionate about quality, craftsmanship and developing products that don’t contribute to today’s throwaway society.

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Picture credit: Eric Broder Van Dyke / Shutterstock

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