10 Great Solar Gift for this Holiday Season

Finding a fun gift for everyone on your list can be tough, so Icon Solar is here to help you out—no cords attached! Solar powered presents are perfect for the techie, environmentalist or anyone in your life looking for a cool gift that won’t run up the electric bill. Here is a list of ten fun products you might even add to your own wish list!

#1 Solar Powered Christmas lights

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Ditch the old tangled up pile of Christmas lights and switch to these fun, solar powered ones instead!

#2 Solar Powered Candy Cane Decorations

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Staying on the seasonal side of things, why not ditch the extension cord for these outdoor, wireless, light-up candy canes!

#3 Solar Powered Book Light

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Read electricity-free day or night!

#4 & #5 Solar Powered Luxury Watches

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Would you look at the time? It looks like it’s just about time to buy one of these solar powered watches.

#6 Solar Powered Backpack

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A backpack that keeps you prepared and your devices energized? Talk about dressed for success!

#7 Solar Powered Security Camera

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We knew solar power could help you with financial security, but who knew it could keep your family safe too?

#8 Solar Powered Flashlight

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When the power fails you, these won’t!

#9 Tesla Powerwall 2

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Speaking of being there for you no matter what, the Tesla Powerwall 2 can keep your whole house powered for a full 24 hours!

#10 Solar Panels

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For those of you who have been extra good this year (or even a little naughty with some of your spending and need to save!) a set of solar panels can be a powerful gift and get you off on the right (carbon)foot for the new year!

This list is certainly putting us in the holiday mood and we are hoping you as well! Call Icon Solar to start your solar journey today and happy holidays!

Solar Power Around the World

As one of the Tristate’s leading solar panel installers, we’re experts in how solar functions in the region. We’re passionate about solar power in the Tristate, but we also love keeping up with how solar power is making a big impact all around the world. Here are a few of our favorite solar innovations:

The Largest Solar Farm in the World: This is a title that is often short-lived, as more and more massive solar farms are built each year. Currently, the honor of world’s largest solar farm belongs to Longyangxia Dam Solar Park in China. This solar farm covers 10 square miles of land and helps push China forth as leader in renewable energy. This solar panel behemoth might be massive, but the world is scattered with giant solar plants, so it might not be too long before another steals the spotlight.

Building Facades: Solar panels lining the exterior of your building might sound strange, but one school in Copenhagen has created a stylized system that meets half their energy needs. The glass facades used also allow for a more flexible solution to some of Europe’s renewable energy needs and the new technology will allow old houses and buildings to become more energy-neutral. Preserving historic buildings and cutting energy costs? Yes, please.

Solar Power Inventions: The world of solar isn’t just limited to buildings; there are plenty of amazing products that are powered by solar. We’re loving this wireless solar keyboard, this solar power bank for charging your phone, and these solar power bricks for adding some light to your backyard at night. The industry is constantly churning out new innovations for the world of solar, and we just love seeing people get creative.

It’s fun to check out what’s going on around the world with solar, and it’s even more exciting to explore how solar power can work for you. The world is turning to solar to reduce energy costs; contact our team to find out how solar power can do the same for you!

“And They Said a Phone Wouldn’t Work…” The Next Best Technology (That Will Save You Thousands)

Let us tell you a story that may make you think differently about a major money-saving endeavor.

It is fabled that in the late 1800s Alexander Graham Bell offered to sell his patent on the telephone to Western Union for $100,000. As the story goes, the committee assigned to investigate the telephone invention included the following in its report:

“We do not see that this device will be ever capable of sending recognizable speech over a distance of several miles. Messer Hubbard and Bell want to install one of their ‘telephone devices’ in every city. The idea is idiotic on the face of it. Furthermore, why would any person want to use this ungainly and impractical device when he can send a messenger to the telegraph office and have a clear written message sent to any large city in the United States? … Mr. G.G. Hubbard’s fanciful predictions, while they sound rosy, are based on wild-eyed imagination and lack of understanding of the technical and economic facts of the situation, and a posture of ignoring the obvious limitations of his device, which is hardly more than a toy … This device is inherently of no use to us. We do not recommend its purchase.” *

This would be a good time to say, “I told you so!” Regardless of whether the story is true, it paints the picture of how it’s difficult to anticipate how or at what pace a new technology will work or supplement an old one. That is certainly the case with solar power.

In fact, solar power has really been around for quite some time. The first photovoltaic cell was produced at Bell Telephone Laboratories (see how it all ties together here?) in 1954, and the first solar powered telecommunications satellite was launch by (you guessed it!) Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1962.

WandaSidebarTemplateToday, we take things like TVs, phones, internet, GPS and more for granted. You may not know,  but these everyday technologies rely upon solar power to work. Think about if you couldn’t watch TV, use your phone, get on the internet or use your GPS for a day. (That does not sound fun!)

An interruption of solar power to a telecommunications satellite would probably make us realize how much we rely upon solar power. Even the little things, like the winter finale of Grey’s Anatomy or directions to the new pizza place, are ones on which we all rely on solar power to enjoy. But, solar power is so reliable that many of us don’t even notice that we use solar power in some way every day.

If solar power is so established and so reliable, why don’t more people use it to power their homes? Well, that is a good question! At some point the folks at Western Union wondered how they could be so wrong about the telephone. The telegraph was such a major part of Western Union’s business (which at the time was doing very well) that Western Union could hardly envision the day when the telegraph wouldn’t exist and most people would own a phone that they carry with them everywhere they go.

Similarly, it is difficult for many homeowners to consider getting their electricity from anything but the utility company. Just for a second, envision how it would feel to receive a utility bill with an amount due that’s less than a cup of coffee. Like that feeling? So do all of Icon Solar’s customers.

It’s time for you to decide whether you are going to stick with the telegraph or invest in the telephone (metaphorically speaking of course!). Investing in a home solar system is good for the environment and will save you money. Lots of money. Invest in your own wallet and embrace a future full of sunshine and savings!

Have questions or comments for us on this blog? Talk to us here.


*Yarrow, J (2014, Jan 2), This Apocryphal Story About The Telephone Should Be An Inspiration To Every Young Company, http://www.businessinsider.com/why-people-thought-telephones-would-fail-2014-1

Five Things You Need to Know About Home Batteries

You’ve read all about how solar panels generate clean energy and, just as importantly, save you massive amounts of money. But, have you read about home batteries? Home batteries are charged by the energy your solar panels generate to power your home. Think of a home battery like a regular battery, except that instead of powering your TV remote, it powers your house (so it’s just a little bit – okay a lot – bigger).

You don’t have to have a home battery to get solar panels, but having both significantly increases your energy independence. Home batteries are a sound investment if you already have solar panels or if you are thinking about going solar. Here are the five things you need to know about home batteries

WandaSidebar1. They store your solar power.
As your solar panels generate electricity, home batteries charge and subsequently store your energy. As you use your electricity, an inverter connected to your home battery transforms the current into usable energy. The inverter then sends this energy through your electrical panel and into your home. You can also set up a backup panel for powering critical loads depending on your energy needs. Check out this detailed look at how home batteries work.

2. They serve as a backup electricity supply.
Home battery kilowatt hour storage space varies, but typically can power your home in the evening and through the night from the energy generated by your solar panels throughout the day. If you have a home battery, you can pull stored energy from it during a utility outage. Imagine that, no more missing an episode of the Walking Dead; scrambling to find ice and a cooler to keep food from spoiling; trying to heat leftover pizza with a match instead of a microwave; doing your work by candlelight… well, you get the point.

3. They can increase your energy independence.
By storing the energy you create with solar, you increase your independence from the utility company. Solar panels only generate energy during the day. Home batteries store excess, unused energy generated from your solar panels to then send power to your home around the clock. If your solar panels generate and home battery stores the same amount of energy you consume, you’ve become independent from the utility grid.

4. They can save you money!
With that newfound independence comes some serious savings. Essentially, you can go net zero. If you’re only using the energy you’ve generated and stored, you’re not pulling any electric from the utility grid. Do you know what that means? A zip, zilch, zero-dollar electric bill.

5. They are the best energy storage option.
The Tesla Powerwall Home Battery is the most advanced energy storage option available today. It works seamlessly with solar panels and requires no maintenance. Upfront, traditional generators may be less expensive, but home batteries diminish the need for ongoing maintenance and fuel costs a generator would need. Plus, they are much more environmentally friendly, and much quieter!

So, now what? Now, you call Icon Solar. There are various kinds of home batteries in the market, but we recommend the best. Icon Solar is an authorized reseller and certified installer of the Tesla Powerwall.  So if you’re ready for energy independence, give us a call!

Have questions or comments for us on this blog? Talk to us here.


Your Questions About How Solar Power Works, Answered

What’s the first question you have when you think of solar power? How solar power works? Will it work here in Ohio, Indiana or Kentucky? Solar power can seem complex, but it doesn’t have to be. We like to say it’s simple: the sun hits your solar panels, they produce energy, you use that energy in your home and you save a lot of money.

But we understand that you probably have more questions about this energy source that’s now powering more than a million homes in the United States. Questions like: do panels work at night? Do panels work when it’s cloudy? Well, it’s our job at Icon Solar to answer all these questions for you.

First and foremost, solar panels create energy from the sun. Solar panels contain silicon, WandaSidebarChocolatewhich is activated and turned into an electrical current when hit by sunlight. Each panel is connected to an inverter that absorbs this current and transforms it into clean energy you can then use in your home. By using the energy your solar panels create, you’re not pulling from the utility company’s grid, which means more money in your pocket and less money spent on your electric bill.

You may ask, will it work in this region? That is a definite yes. Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky average between 4.2 and 4.7 peak hours of sun per day on an annual basis. Compare that to Florida: solar power is prevalent in the Sunshine State, where they get five peak hours of sun per day. Those comparable peak hours of sunlight make solar an incredibly viable and sound investment in our region. In fact, Ohio is ranked as 23rd in the country in installed solar capacity, with enough to power 14,000 homes. Plus, this capacity is expected to increase six times over the next five years.

That’s all great, but what if your house doesn’t get that much sun or isn’t south facing? The answer is that solar will still work for you. Installing solar panels on the south-facing side of the roof is optimal positioning, but Icon Solar’s team can work with you to manipulate shading, tilt and orientation to build the most efficient system for you.

Now you’re probably wondering about those not-so-sunny days, right? Although direct sunlight will provide the highest energy production and output, even on cloudy, rainy and just downright gloomy days, your solar panels will still work and you will still have power. However, at night, solar panels do not produce any energy. But, you are still hooked up to your utility company’s grid so you will not be without power. The switch from solar to utility is seamless, you will have no power interruptions and you won’t even notice when the switch happens.

I’m sure I answered a few of your questions about how solar power works, but I also know you may have more questions. It’s time to give us a call!

Have questions or comments for us on this blog? Talk to us here.