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According to the EPA, the average electric bill for residences in the United States was $110.21 in 2013, which means households were spending over $1,300 a year on electricity. That really adds up. It also means there’s a huge demand for fossil-fuel-based power providers, who in turn add a significant amount of pollutants to the environment.

Solar power What Is Solar Energy And Why Hasn't It Taken Off? What Is Solar Energy And Why Hasn't It Taken Off? What's the big deal with solar energy? If it's really as important and necessary as so many claim it to be, why hasn't it taken over the energy industry yet? Read More provides cleaner, more sustainable electricity, but few people can afford to mount solar panels on their houses, and few power providers have invested significantly in solar power generation. It’s time to take solar power into your own hands. These 12 devices won’t let you take your house off the grid, but they will help reduce your power bill and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

Creative Edge Solar Cell Phone Charger ($30)

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Solar Charger - Creative Edge(TM) Solar-5 Solar Panel 5000mAh Water/ Shock/ Dust Resistant Portable Backup Power Bank Dual USB output, Fits most USB-charged devices (Apple Lightning Adapter Included) Solar Charger - Creative Edge(TM) Solar-5 Solar Panel 5000mAh Water/ Shock/ Dust Resistant Portable Backup Power Bank Dual USB output, Fits most USB-charged devices (Apple Lightning Adapter Included) THE BEST OF ITS KIND - The Original Creative Edge Solar-5 Solar Panel 5000mAh charger transforms environmental friendly solar energy into power to charge the internal battery of the SOLAR-5. Your SOLAR-5 can be charged by being plugged into a wall outlet and used as a power bank while you're on the go! Solar charging isn't as fast as wall charging but it's a great way to charge your SOLAR-5 in an emergency situation. Buy Now At Amazon

This five-panel solar charger can store up to 5,000 mAh; for comparison, the iPhone 6 packs a 1,810 mAh battery, which means you could fully charge up the battery 2.5 times on a single solar charge. The small size of the Creative Edge charger means you can easily leave it on a window sill or the corner of a desk to charge in the sunlight. And two USB ports lets it charge two phones (or a single tablet) at once.

XD Design Solar Window Charger ($20)

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New Window Emergency Solar Battery Charger for iPhone iPod MP3 MP4 Mobile Phones (silver) by XD Design New Window Emergency Solar Battery Charger for iPhone iPod MP3 MP4 Mobile Phones (silver) by XD Design This solar window charger, is easily attachable to your window. The outside of the charger catches sunlight, while the smooth designed inside spices up your interior and charges your electronic equipment. Buy Now At Amazon $19.88

Though its small size and 1800 mAh battery means it doesn’t pack the punch of a larger charger like the Creative Edge above, the XD Design solar window charger’s ability to stick to a window is pretty cool. It comes in fun colors, too, so it’s not an eyesore if it has to stay on your desk to charge up your phone throughout the day.

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Swiftly Done Peel-n-Stick Outdoor Solar Lights ($17)

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Swiftly Done Bright Solar Power Outdoor LED Light No Tools Required Peel and Stick Motion Activated Swiftly Done Bright Solar Power Outdoor LED Light No Tools Required Peel and Stick Motion Activated Installs easily in seconds; just peel and stick to any surface (bricks, stucco, siding, wood, metal, glass etc.) Buy Now At Amazon $7.88

There are a lot of solar-powered outdoor lights Strip Down & Recycle Old Garden Solar Lamps For Tech Projects Strip Down & Recycle Old Garden Solar Lamps For Tech Projects Costing just a few dollars each, garden solar lamps are a low-cost solution to night-time illumination – and they might just give you a useful piece of equipment for completing a tech project. Whether you’re... Read More , but not many of them are quite this simple. Just peel off the backing and stick it wherever you need more light. It charges up during the day and then lights up your driveway, front door, or other area at night. To save power, it dims when there’s no motion detected, and increases light output when motion is detected.

Etekcity Solar Lantern ($18)

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Etekcity Portable Rechargeable Outdoor USB and Solar LED Camping Lantern (Orange) Etekcity Portable Rechargeable Outdoor USB and Solar LED Camping Lantern (Orange) COMPACT AND PORTABLE: Green Energy camping lantern with solar panels, portable, light weight and compact, light up to 8 hours. Buy Now At Amazon

Whether you’re an avid camper 10 Sites For Budget Travel & Backpacking Trips Across The World 10 Sites For Budget Travel & Backpacking Trips Across The World Backpackers are an adventurous breed. They are also awfully budget conscious too. It comes with the territory I guess, because the taste of adventure cannot be experienced from the luxurious couches and air-conditioned coaches. If... Read More or you just need some extra light when you let the dog out at night, a solar lantern is a great tool to have. This one from Etekcity charges in two hours of full sunlight and packs enough power for eight hours of LED-fueled brightness. It can also be charged with an included USB adapter with a wall plug or through your computer.

Sunnytech Solar-Powered Reading Lamp and USB Charger ($20)

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Sunnytech® Solar Powered Led Reading Lamp Light,Foldable Emergency USB Mobile Phone Charge Power Bank Function,touch Control,brightness Adjustable,modern Candle,green Energy,highlight, Eye Protect,durable,for Camping,traveling Outdoor Activity Sunnytech® Solar Powered Led Reading Lamp Light,Foldable Emergency USB Mobile Phone Charge Power Bank Function,touch Control,brightness Adjustable,modern Candle,green Energy,highlight, Eye Protect,durable,for Camping,traveling Outdoor Activity Solar Powered Charging,Green Eco- friendly energy.50000 hours life time. Buy Now At Amazon

Wish you could harness the sun’s light and use it later when you need it? A solar-powered reading lamp will help you do just that. This one also includes a USB port so you can charge your phone if you need an emergency boost. The entire lamp folds flat so it’s easy to transport or takes up less room when not in use.

Logitech Solar Wireless Keyboard ($50)

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Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 Solar-powered keyboard: No battery hassles - any light source keeps your keyboard charged for at least three months in total darkness Buy Now At Amazon $46.99

Your computer already draws a lot of power—why use even more to power your accessories? Logitech’s solar wireless keyboard charges from the sun or artificial light, and will keep a charge for up to three months in total darkness. And at only 1/3 of an inch thick, it’s sleek enough to compliment your desk. (We reviewed this keyboard a while ago; check out the review Logitech Solar Keyboards K750 and K760 Review and Giveaway Logitech Solar Keyboards K750 and K760 Review and Giveaway Wireless keyboards and mice have been historically undervalued because of unreliability in their wireless communications and constant need for replacement batteries. But I took one step further and got solar keyboards to see if they... Read More to see what we thought.)

Eton Rukus Solar Powered Bluetooth Speaker ($50)

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Eton Rugged Rukus The solar-powered, Bluetooth-ready, smartphone-charging speaker Eton Rugged Rukus The solar-powered, Bluetooth-ready, smartphone-charging speaker High efficiency mono crystalline Solar panel with internal Li-ion battery Buy Now At Amazon $44.51

Though it won’t give you the sound quality of a full-on speaker system, the rukus is highly portable and stores enough power to play music for eight hours on a full charge. It will also charge your smartphone via the USB port. It’s water resistant as well, making it great for poolside listening and go-anywhere versatility.

Goal Zero 150WH Generator and Solar Panel ($355)

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Goal Zero 22004 Yeti 150 Solar Generator Goal Zero 22004 Yeti 150 Solar Generator Powers laptops, lights and smartphones anywhere you need them with a built-in AC inverter Buy Now At Amazon $195.00

Tiny solar chargers are cool, but if you’re looking to really take advantage of solar power, Goal Zero’s generators are the way to go. The 150WH generator will power laptops, cell phones, and lights with a built-in AC inverter. The more powerful generators can even power tools, TVs, and refrigerators. Unfortunately, the $195 generator doesn’t include a solar panel, but Goal Zero’s panels are easy to pick up from Amazon. Don’t be without power after the apocalypse Survive An Apocalypse: Setting Up A Complete Emergency Survival Kit Survive An Apocalypse: Setting Up A Complete Emergency Survival Kit The apocalypse will need to be documented with Facebook updates and Twitter hashtags for future generations to fully enjoy - so how are you planning to do that with no power or Internet connectivity? Read More . Get a solar generator.

Birksun Boost Solar Backpack ($100)

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There are a lot of solar backpacks out there, but Birksun has some of the best-looking. With simple colors, clean lines, and an unobtrusive solar panel, the Boost will help you charge your devices on the go without carrying around a giant panel on your back. And the price can’t be beat.

Secur Solar Powered Flashlight ($20)

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Secur Waterproof Hand crank or built in Solar powered 3 LED Flashlight, High power 3 functions LED, Dynamo powered no batteries needed, waterproof up to 45 feet Secur Waterproof Hand crank or built in Solar powered 3 LED Flashlight, High power 3 functions LED, Dynamo powered no batteries needed, waterproof up to 45 feet The high power Flashlight comes with a built in Dynamo powered hand crank, Buy Now At Amazon $17.99

Using the sun to light up the dark isn’t restricted to your desk—this solar-powered flashlight will give you two hours of light after an hour in full sun, and packs a hand crank in case you need more light after that.

Skylock Solar Bike Lock ($160)

The Skylock is a smart lock Forget Keys: 5 Smart Locks You Can Unlock With Your Phone Forget Keys: 5 Smart Locks You Can Unlock With Your Phone Here are 5 different locks that you can unlock with your phone. Read More for your bike—it connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth to unlock when you approach your bike, can detect crashes and notify anyone in your network, sends theft alerts, and lets you share access with others. It won’t save you any money over a regular lock, but it could keep your bike safer, and that’s worth investing in. Expected to ship Q4 2015.

Bonus: Sunport Solar Plug ($50)

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Using solar power isn’t all about saving money. It’s also about changing the world Changing The World Is Easier Than You Think With These 3 Websites Changing The World Is Easier Than You Think With These 3 Websites The definition of being an activist has changed over the years thanks to the Internet. It used to mean that you had to handwrite a petition and run around town getting signatures, or you had... Read More  by supporting solar energy producers and showing the government and power providers that solar is important to consumers. That’s what Sunport does.

By plugging it into the wall and plugging your device into it, you can request solar power from your provider through purchasing solar renewable energy credits. It’s a bit complicated, but Sunport’s Kickstater page has a detailed explanation.

Solar Power Your Home

Putting solar panels on your roof is really expensive and environmentally unsuitable in many locations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start powering your home with solar energy. By using the devices above, you can charge your phone, light up the dark, listen to music, and even secure your bike with solar power. And that’s a great first step to a cleaner world.

Do you have any solar-powered devices in your home? Will you be adding any soon? Share your thoughts below!

Image Credits: solar energy house via Shutterstock

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