Ever since the 1950’s, Americans have had dreams of technological utopias — imagining a world made peaceful and luxuriant through high technology. While dreams of flying cars and robot butlers have faded, it’s possible that one form of tech utopia is happening with solar power.
For decades solar power has been known primarily by images of either panels on a rooftop or as massive arrays in the desert. But that’s changing with a new generation of small scale solar tech that is working it’s way into a variety of useful as well as beautiful products.
Ten years ago, few would have imagined that the home and garden section would be the first to see an explosion of products embedded with solar technology, but as with all technological developments, it’s the unexpected that usually wins the day.
Most of the products now hitting the market are simply redesigns of previous items, now infused with solar technology. Examples of everything from solar step lights to solar umbrella lights can be found, replacing traditional products that once required messy electrical wiring or environmentally-unfriendly batteries.
Consumers can find dozens of other outdoor solar lighting products to illuminate their homes, providing safe environments powered by the endless energy of the sun. It seems that we are actually getting one step closer to the utopia we’ve all imagined, as homeowners convert their existing lighting systems that once drew power from pollution-inducing power plants to fixtures that require no external power source. It may not be a complete picture of being totally off the grid, but all massive changes like this take place in stages. As purchase of these products speeds further innovation, it turns out that buying a solar lighting fixture may actually lead us to the clean energy utopia we’ve all dreamed about.