One thing all our tech products require is power. As we move towards a more sustainable future, many people are investing in solar panels and chargers. These devices harness the power of the sun to power our smartphones, laptops, and even our RV’s. It’s one of many products that promote a sustainable lifestyle. According to the Canadian Renewable Energy Association, there are more than 43,000 solar energy installations on residential, commercial, and industrial buildings in Canada, and more than one-quarter of all solar capacity was added in 2022. Canadians are clearly excited about adopting sunlight as sustainable and renewable energy source.

In this article, discover how solar panels work, how they contribute to renewable energy, and how you can use them in your everyday life at home and on the go.

How solar panels generate electricity

Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells, which produce electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect. These cells absorb photons from sunlight. Then, the absorbed photons knock electrons free from the atoms within the silicon cells. This action creates a flow of electrons that generate an electrical current. Metal plates on the sides of the cells capture this current, allowing it to be used as electricity.

The electrical current produced by the solar cells is direct current (DC). However, most electronic devices use alternating current (AC). An inverter converts DC into AC power. 

Solar panel and portable power station

Harnessing the sun’s power for renewable energy

Renewable energy comes from natural, replenishable sources. Solar power is one example of renewable energy, alongside other sources such as wind energy, hydroelectric power, geothermal energy, and tidal power. Each offers a sustainable and cleaner alternative to traditional fossil fuels, which have negative environmental impacts during their extraction and/or use.

To reduce our carbon footprint, we are moving towards renewable energy sources to produce little to no greenhouse gases. This shift helps combat climate change and reduce air pollution. Canada Action states that, in 2022, Canada’s wind, solar, and energy storage sector grew by 10.5%, adding 1.8 GW of wind and solar. And you can harness solar power at home, too.

solar panels and generator

Using solar panels in everyday life

Solar panels come in a variety of different sizes depending on your needs. Embracing the power of the sun can not only help you reduce your carbon footprint, but it also promotes energy independence. With solar panels, you can generate energy locally at home, camping, or when you’re in remote areas. Here are some different ways you can use solar panels in everyday life. 

solar panel powering security camera

Wireless security cameras

Power your wireless security cameras with solar panels. Solar energy keeps the cameras’ internal batteries charged, so you never have to take the security cameras down to recharge them. This is particularly useful for cameras placed in hard-to-reach areas. It adds tremendous convenience for setting up a home security system at home. 

Outdoor lighting

Solar panels are also great for powering outdoor lighting. You can use solar-powered lights to enhance your landscaping or to illuminate walkways. They can also be used for security lighting, without the need for electrical wiring. This, again, is especially beneficial for remote areas that are far away from electrical power. 

Portable power

There are many compact, portable solar panels designed for portable power & camping lights. They can charge all your digital devices when you’re off the grid, including smartphones, tablets, portable Bluetooth speakers, and lanterns. For safety and convenience, many people include portable solar panels as part of their camping kit to power small devices in remote locations.

Charging stations

Portable power stations & solar generators can be used to create charging stations for electric vehicles, RVs, and other devices. They offer a clean, portable energy source for recharging batteries. Plus, they serve as a backup power supply in the event of an extended power outage. When used with portable power stations, you can power essential appliances like fridges and freezers. This offers peace of mind, knowing you’ll have access to power when you need it.

Portable solar panel

Why you should invest in solar panels

We all need access to power. Traditionally, we use power from the electrical grid to charge and power all our devices. However, there are many situations when you don’t have access to power. With solar panels, all you need is sunlight to gain access to clean, renewable energy. As we move to a more sustainable future, solar panels will play a huge role in our day-to-day lives.

Solar panels can also power all your home security devices, including lights and cameras. If and when the power goes out, you can use them with portable power stations to keep essential devices like your modem and router running.

Investing in solar panels means investing in a clean, sustainable energy source. No matter your needs, you’ll find solar panels and chargers that are right for you.

Andy Baryer
Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.


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