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Posted: 9:00 a.m. Friday, Nov. 1, 2013

Save money with solar-powered and self-charging products

With utility rates on the constant rise, many people see solar as our future. The most attractive part about going solar is that you save money over time, especially because electricity will come at a premium price in the future (yes, even more expensive than now). Plus, without much thought on your end, you reduce your carbon footprint (ever heard of Global Warming?).

But not everyone is jumping on the solar bandwagon yet. Some people have a hard time seeing the benefits when they either have to invest $15,000 to $30,000 in panels (dependent on size of home and tax credits) or lease the panels that may save them 0-10% off their current electricity bill. Again, the value builds over time.

For those of you that are not ready to get solar panels on your home, but still want to save money and do a small part in making this world a better place, here are some amazing solar products that will change the way you live and think:

1. Outdoor Solar Lighting.
If you enjoy outdoor living, the cost of lighting up your backyard will add up over time. Instead of going the traditional route of using your own electricity, use the sun's rays to power up your space. Bambeco offers these beautiful Solar Tea Lanterns and Nectar Solar Garden Art. Both are powered by the sun. From experience, I had to have it out in the sun for 1 whole day before I saw it light up at night. The nectar globe lit for a longer period than the tea lantern (an observation that I made on the 2nd day). They both added a touch of elegance and sophistication to my outdoor space. Price: $30 (Solar Tea Lantern) and $49 (Nectar Solar Garden Art).

2. Solar Keyboard. Who would've known that we've come to an age where solar is offered on our keyboards. The Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 is powered by light and even indoors which makes for the perfect solar addition to your daily lives. Price: $59.99.

3. Solar Bike. I have to mention that this isn't for everyone, but it's great for those seeking an alternative to local driving and also get in some exercise time while doing it. The Solutions from Science Solar Bike is the world's first solar bike system. You use the power from the sun to provide you with motor-assisted pedaling, that means you can go longer distances without killing yourself. Price: $2997, worth over $5,000.

4. Self-Charging Stroller. I literally went crazy over the Origami stroller even before it was offered to the masses. I was invited to be part of a testing group, but the cost of testing didn't make sense for me since my child was already a lot bigger. The best part of this stroller is that it self charges. It has generators in its rear wheels and as you walk you you are generating enough power for the lights, the folding mechanism, your cell phone charger and LCD screen. It's not the most budget friendly, actually very expensive, but this stroller shows us what the future holds in baby gear. Price: $849.99.

5. Solar Charger. If there is one thing that we all need is the power for our cell phones, tablets and many other tech gadgets. If you're anything like me, you're use to hearing "beep, beep" as it shows that you need to charge your gadget. Take a look at Solio Classic2. This solar charger gives you enough power to give 3 full charges to most smartphones. So if you're always on the run, like to go camping or traveling, this solar charger will be the smartest investment you make. Price: $100.

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