9 Super Practical Products You Can Power with Sunshine

Who said solar was boring? These genius products, powered by nature's electricity, are bound to catch your interest. And because they run on sunshine they'll add a whopping zero dollars to your electricity bill, meaning they'll pay for themselves with every use.

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  1. Key to Success


    Yes, even office supplies can benefit from an eco-friendly upgrade! If you're lucky enough to have the corner office with big windows and a view, the incoming sunlight can power this sleek, wireless computer accessory from Logitech. No windows? No problem! The advanced design of this Mac-compatible keyboard even runs on light from overheads or a desk lamp. On a full battery, it'll operate for three months in total darkness (though we doubt it'll ever come to that). Available on Amazon; $58.

    Related: Under $50: 10 Must-Haves for an Organized Desk


  2. Sun Bathing


    As many outdoor fixtures can take advantage of the sun's rays during daylight hours, so too can this decorative bird bath from Smart Solar. Energy harnessed by a solar panel in the bottom of the 2-inch-deep verdigris bowl powers a low-voltage water pump that keeps its fountain bubbling. Not only will the splashing water attract fine feathered friends to your yard, but it also prevents the bird bath from turning into a potential breeding ground for mosquitos. All that, and no energy costs to boot? We see no downsides here—this backyard beauty is a must-have. Available at Hayneedle; $95.

    Related: 19 "Zero Dollar" Upgrades for Your Outdoor Living Area


  3. Garden Glow


    By day, it looks like any other planter that, with simple yet sleek styling, makes for a fine addition to any deck, porch, or patio. At night, however, when darkness hides the plants growing inside it, the planter itself puts on a show. Collected and stored throughout the day, solar energy gives the Color-Changing Solar Planter all the juice it needs to glow until morning. Whether you choose one color or a display that cycles through a range of different hues, the Solar Planter provides a whole new way to enjoy your container garden. Available at Plow & Hearth; $79.99 - $109.99.


  4. Twinkling Beneath the Stars


    Create a cozy space for your next backyard BBQ by stringing these solar-powered lights over the arbor or around deck railings. Not only will you add a touch of style to any outdoor affair, but you can enjoy the lights' soft glow without reaching for an extension cord. Since they come equipped with a solar panel, no electricity is required. Fully charged string lights will run for 6-8 hours after sunset, leaving you plenty of time to give your guests a perfectly illuminated night to remember! Available at Plow & Hearth; $29.95 - $99.95. 

    Related: 8 New Ideas for DIY Outdoor Lighting


  5. Fully Charged


    What could be worse than being stuck with a battery-drained device, and without a single outlet to plug in, while you're on the go. Whether you're up in the air or on a hike, this small annoyance can turn into a big liability, should you run into trouble and need to call for help. Next time you head out from home, travel prepared with the GreenLighting Solar Phone Charger. This smart device harnesses the power of the sun to give your phone a 40% boost in battery life—plenty of power to make a call or search for directions. Available on Amazon; $39.99. 


  6. Good, Clean Fun


    Sure, you may not need an outdoor shower, but it sure is fun to have one. Ready with a refreshing blast of water after a workout or a dip in the pool, this free-standing version is powered by pure sunshine. That means this little luxury won't add a cent to your electric bill, and there's no need for pricey plumbing work to link it to your indoor water heater. To set it up, all you need is a your garden hose. Connect that to the PVC base, turn on the valve, and pick your water temperature. Available on Amazon; $134.99.

    Related: 11 Low-Cost Ways to Boost a Boring Backyard


  7. Better Your Bag


    Need another way to power up while on the go? The Off-Grid Backpack can get the job done. Sporting a slim 6-watt solar panel and rechargeable battery, and water-resistant fabric, it power your devices, while toting all your gear. Plus, you don't have to be a hiker or a rock climber to get your money's worth. Only three to seven hours of direct sunlight will generate enough juice to bring your phone, camera, or tablet back to life. Available on Amazon; $199.



  8. Goodbye, Bugs


    When the sun goes down, and the bugs come out, fight back with a sun-powered zapper. This powerful pest elimantor ensnares mosquitoes and other flying insects, while emitting a colorful glow to light up the deck, porch, or walkway. The zapper's smart sensor switches off the machine during daylight to make the solar charging process more efficient. Then when night falls, that's when this bug killer comes to life. Available on Amazon; $49.99.

    Related: 10 Plants to Grow for a Pest-Free Backyard


  9. Light the Path


    Looks like brick, lights up like a lantern. That's the genius behind these low-profile solar pavers. When laid end to end, these plastic bricks will line 20 feet worth of walkways, driveways, or flower beds, bringing definition to the yard while eliminating the need for awkward or expensive path lights.    Available on Amazon; $61.95

    Related: The Invincible Yard: 17 Ideas for Lazy Landscaping


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