Bell Howell Solar Charger Reviews

With the Bell Howell solar charger, you can charge your iPhones, cell phones, and other electronic devices from the sun. Video reviews follow.

bell howell solar charger

1) Is the Bell Howell Solar Charger as good as advertised?

Lukewarm review. Will not work with the iPhone 5. Rating 6 out of 10. Watch review

2) A Slightly Different View

3) Charger Will Not Work With Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

iPhone Solar Charger Backpacking


JOOS Orange Solar Phone Charger

Reviewers agree that this charger is one of the best being produced today.


Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit

Not as sturdy, but still pretty good. Plus, very fast charger.


Solio Bolt

Extremely easy to charge. Plus – you can charge it 3 ways.


Solar Lights For Patio Umbrellas

Patio umbrellas can make a distinct an positive difference to your outdoor backyard. It can also make a difference to your comfort – allowing you and your guests to stay outside during a light rain instead of having to come indoors.

However, many homeowners like to take advantage of their patio in the evening hours as well, when the sun is setting or has already gone down. For these people, patio umbrella with lights come in very handy. Although, many of these types of umbrellas require electricity or batteries, solar lights for patio umbrellas are enjoying a popularity surge.

Most solar lights for patio umbrellas have rechargeable batteries. These batteries are recharged as the solar panel collects energy from the sun throughout the day.

SQUARE Square Solar Lighted Patio Umbrella – Taupe 9′x7′

Make your outdoor entertaining area elegant and charming with ambient light from the Solar Lighted 9×7′ Rectangular Patio Umbrella in taupe. The solar panels in the top absorb the suns energy all day, providing you with 4 to 6 hours of beautiful evening glow. This umbrella makes outdoor dining intimate and inviting. The rechargeable battery power is eco-friendly.

square square solar lighted patio umbrella9ft Patio Solar Umbrella LED

Waterproof Aluminum Deck Garden Parasol Powered Tan

Brand New 9′ Diameter Patio Solar Umbrella w/ 32 LED Lights !! The 9′ Patio Solar Umbrella blocks the sun’s rays throughout the day, and lights up the night with its pre-installed solar-powered LEDs. So, no matter day or night, you can enjoy many relaxing get togethers with this auto tilt solar umbrella.

9ft patio solar umbrella parasol powered tan

9ft patio solar umbrella parasol powered tanChoosing The Right Solar Lights For Your Patio Umbrella

- Before purchasing your solar lights, determine the goals for the solar lights you choose. Will they be merely for decorative purposes or do your really want something functional that provides a great deal of light – (for reading, etc)

- Some models offer focused lighting while others offer diffused lighting. Decide on which type is best for your needs.

- Some solar patio umbrellas have the solar lights built into the structure. While, with others, the solar lights and panels are add-ons. If you tend to be challenged when putting things together, look for models that come pre configured.

Solar Ventilation With Attic Fans

While homeowners investing in solar heating and cooling solutions can look forward to tremendous cost savings, it pays to take into account ventilation issues as well.

For example, many homes have attics. It is important to the health and energy efficiency of your home to allow your attic to breathe. Why? Because without adequate ventilation, you will have attic heat buildup. And this can cause your air conditioner to run harder and more continuously which will increase your electrical bills and lessen the life of the air conditioner unit.

solar powered attic ventilatorTypically, in the case of an attic, the need for ventilation is resolved by installing an attic fan. These days, most attic fans depend on the house’s electrical system for their energy.

However, many newer homes are taking advantage of solar ventilation. Installing a solar attic fan can result in great energy savings over the course of the year.

Because your air conditioning unit needs to run less, it will have less stress on it. In addition, once the initial cost of the solar fan has been recouped, the cost to run your attic fan will basically be nothing.

In addition, the result to your home will be a much more comfortable environment as excess heat is efficiently removed from the home.

The popularity of solar fans has really exploded in recent years. Today, many retail and Internet stores offer a variety of models that can meet virtually any residential need you can envision.

A good example of a fan that provides stellar solar ventilation is the Sunrise 850 Fan. This is a fan that can be installed on most roofs, even high pitched roofs, with few issues. The chart below shows how the Sunrise 850 compares to an average electrical fan. Even though the initial cost of a solar fan is greater than your typical electric fan, your real cost savings come in later years.

solar ventilation cost comparison chart

The Sunrise 850 is only one example of providing ventilation using solar energy. There are many other excellent models as well. With more coming into the market every year.

If you have been looking at traditional roof vents or ventilation fans, please take a look at our TCO comparison to see how our solar ventilation fans can save you money. Our roof fans and vent fans can be installed on virtually any roof-type and with the pitch facing virtually any direction.

To help save on cost, however, always check to determine if you the purchase of your solar fan can be somewhat offset by a federal or local tax credit. Usually the manufacturer of the fan can let you know if you are eligible for a federal tax credit. You local city council or state website is the best source to find if your state offers a tax credit.

Solar Water Heater Panel – Are They Still Cost Effective?

A solar water heater panel is usually contemplated by those thinking of reducing their energy bills.

The operation of a solar water heater system is simple. During the day the solar panel collects and stores energy from the sun. In tropical environments, the average number of suitable daylight hours could be 6-8 hours.

solar water heater panelIn colder environments, it could be a lot less. Regardless, any energy collected is used to heat the water in the tank. Most singularly designed solar heater panels don’t bother to store the excess energy. As a result, any extra energy produced is loss throughout the day.

Dedicated Solar Water Heating Systems Versus Photovoltaics

Although a many home owners have gravitated towards installing a solar water heater panel in their home, some have decided to install a solar photovoltaics (i.e., PV) system instead. The reason is that although it will save the homeowner a great deal of money, a solar water heater panel will heat water and nothing else.

On the other hand, a solar PV system will heat water as well as provide electrical energy to fill your other electrical needs as well. In fact, depending on the city in which you live, you may be able to sell the excess energy generated by your PV system to your local utility. So, instead of merely saving money, you actually are making money with your system.

Here’s how you can build your own solar water heater panel – (for advanced handymen).

Solar Water Heater Controller

Thermal solar power is one of the most environmentally safe and cost effective sources of energy around today. This is one of the reasons the solar water heaters are becoming so popular among the environmental conscious people who can afford them.

One of the most important parts of a solar water heater system is the controller. The purpose of the solar water heater controller is to monitor the temperature of the system. To do this, it interacts with sensors and based on the reading tells the pumps to turn on or turn off.
solar water heater controller
Some of the more modern and expensive water heater controllers allow customers to access the system via the Internet. They can log on to a website and remotely turn the system on and off or adjust the temperature.

The monitoring system also sends data back to the distributor’s home office. This enables them to remotely troubleshoot problems for homeowners when something in the system goes awry. In many cases, this saves the company from having to send a maintenance engineer to the customers home to identify the problem.

But the monitoring system also allows the company to be proactive in resolving problems. Many times, there are signs of system troubles long before something breaks down in the water heater. This remote monitor functionality can periodically test the system components to identify any areas of potential problems.

solar water heater controller

Another advantage to the installers of these systems is that, over time, the amount of detail collected by these controllers allow them to set optimum price points for themselves. They can create billing models that very accurately allow them to predict future usage patterns. And, as a result, can offer prices that give their customers a good deal as well as provide them with a good amount of profit.

In simpler and cheaper systems, the water heater controller is simply a thermostat which switches your pump on or off depending on the temperature of the water and the temperature setting you have set on the thermostat.

Solar Tiki Torches

Solar tiki torches can provide your garden or patio with a nice tropical and island feel. The added advantage is that, when you think about where to position them, you don’t need to worry about installing electrical outlets to the units. Also, unlike torches that employ real fire, you don’t have to be concerned about accidentally burning down your building structures.

solar tiki torch

On the flip side, if there is no sun, the unit will not be able to recharge and you will be without light for your patio.

The simplest of these types of solar lamps come in sets of 4. They are easy to assemble and install. And, because no wiring is involved, they can be set up practically anywhere that has access to sun during the daylight hours.

The rechargeable batteries included with these units are usually powerful enough to provide the lamps with enough electricity to provide approximately 6-8 hours of night time lighting with each full charge. As the solar collectors become cheaper and more powerful, we can expect to see the number of number of night time hours extended. We can also expect to see the number of daylight hours required to fully charge the batteries decrease.

Before installing your solar powered tiki lamp, you will probably have to place the solar collection component out in the sun to allow it to fully charge. The batteries use the power of the sun to build up their energy throughout the day. Then, at night, the lights come on automatically providing your garden with the perfect accent. The following video shows this in detail.

One thing to be aware of is that many of the units being sold today are rather flimsy. Fortunately, however, new models are coming onto the market every year. Be sure to do your due diligence before investing in your own solar tiki torch.

Are Solar Batteries On The Way Out?


Will storing solar energy in batteries soon become obsolete? Major environmental scientists think that it's only a matter of time.
Daniel Nocera, a professor of chemistry and energy at MIT, and postdoctoral fellow Matthew Kanan have figured out how to split water into hydrogen and oxygen cheaply and efficiently at room temperature. The process can later be reversed, allowing the recombination of hydrogen and oxygen in a fuel cell to create carbon-free electricity. 
Nocera told the MIT News Service that within 10 years, he expects that homeowners will be able to use solar power to provide electricity during the day and to store unused solar energy to power a household fuel cell for evening use. This would eliminate the need for electricity delivered over power lines. 

Solar Powered Air Conditioner Window Unit

Tired of paying exorbitant summertime bills for air conditioning. If so, a solar powered air conditioner window unit may be just the thing you’re looking for.

This is especially true if you are fortunate enough to live in an area where you get plenty of sun throughout the summer months.
Even the most cost effective standard air conditioners can take a big bite out of your paycheck. But, once it’s initial sunk cost is paid off, a solar air conditioner can do more than simply provide you with cost free cooling. If you live in the right municipality, you can even sell back the excess energy generated by your unit to the local utility company.