What are some practical uses for solar energy?

How is solar energy useful in your daily life?

Solar power hasn't quite crept into the average lifestyle yet. But that doesn't mean you can't benefit from it. There are many ways you can leverage solar power in your daily life.

Several companies now offer solar-powered recharge stations that let you use the sun to power your portable electronics. Some are small enough to fit in your pocket and can only generate enough electricity to recharge smaller devices like cell phones. Others are much larger and can provide electricity to power-hungry electronics like laptop computers. With these devices, you can recharge your devices in an environmentally friendly way and in places where you can't access electricity otherwise.

But why stop with portable electronics? If you really want solar power to make a big impact on your daily life, you can invest in converting your home to get its energy from solar panels. This really only applies to people who own their home and it requires a significant amount of money up front. Some places have government programs that provide tax incentives to citizens who install solar panels on their homes. If you have the desire -- and the cash -- to make the leap, you can use solar panels to generate enough electricity to meet most of your needs. If you've taken steps to conserve energy in your home you may even be able to sell some excess energy back to the power grid!

Of course, you don't have to cover the roof of your home with solar panels to benefit from solar energy. Many utility companies are investing in solar panel technology to generate some electricity. Depending upon your power company, your home may be depending upon solar energy right now!

You may benefit from solar energy without even being aware of it. Many businesses generate some of the electricity they need through solar power. From enormous utility companies to small business, solar energy is playing an important role in producing electricity.