Solar technology: our top 5 solar tech picks

What’s even better though is that solar is no longer just limited to homes – we’re now seeing solar power being used in many different ways. We’re big fans of solar tech here at geo HQ, and even when we’re hard at work tinkering away at our popular Solo PV range, we’re always keeping an eye out for the latest advances in solar technology.

Here’s a rundown of some of our favourite solar powered inventions to have hit the news of late. How many have you heard of?

1. Swarovski Shine

Just in case you missed the memo about solar power being cool, here’s a not-so-little reminder from Swarovski. They recently teamed up with wearable tech company Misfit to create this stylish, solar-powered fitness tracker. Enter the Swarovski Shine.

Tucked away inside the gemstone are a number of solar cells which, thanks to the tracker’s crystal shape (which refracts light from many different angles onto the solar cells beneath) mean that it’s able to charge itself from both the sun’s rays and artificial light. Talk about a product that’s both fashionable and functional!

Image credit: Swarovski Shine / Misfit

2. Solar Impulse

Even if you’re not the most solar savvy of people, we reckon you might just have heard of Solar Impulse before. This solar-powered plane broke a fair few records back in 2015 (along with raising awareness of clean technologies) when it became the first solar powered plane to fly around the world. Not ones to rest on their laurels, the team behind Solar Impulse are now looking forward to more adventures of the aviation kind in the coming year.

3. Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER)

This super solar-powered car was created just round the corner from us – though we’re yet to see the team racing up and down King’s Parade in Cambridge city centre!

CUER is a student organisation that designs, builds and races its own solar powered vehicles. In fact, they’re so good at harnessing the sun’s energy to power their solar racing car that they managed to come an impressive 22nd position (out of 46 cars from across the world) in the 2015 World Solar Challenge – a 3,000 km race across Australia.

Image credit: CUER

4. Solar Paper

Meet Solar Paper. According to its makers, YOLK, this is the world’s thinnest and lightest solar charger. It’s so light in fact that it can be popped inside your notebook or diary when you’re not using it to soak up the sun’s rays.

We first came across this device on Kickstarter a little while back. Now, having raised 20 times over their $50,000 funding goal they’re in the process of shipping their first batches of Solar Paper to their backers. Form an orderly queue please!

Image credit: Solar Paper

5. Sol Cinema

Solar power meets cinema here in the form of this 8-seater caravan which currently holds the title for being the world’s smallest solar-powered cinema. Thanks to Sol Cinema’s solar generator and its 120W PV panels this means there’s no chance the power will run out partway through your popcorn and performance. Phew!

Now it’s over to you. Which of these solar powered inventions has caught your attention? Are there any other examples of super solar-powered tech that you would’ve included in this rundown? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.