Sunday, April 26, 2009

Solar Battery Charger

The Solar Battery Charger - Free, Clean, And Renewable Energy

By = David Faulkner

One of the most annoying realities of our electronic lifestyle is that so many of our electronic must-haves are battery operated. And depending on how often we use them, the life of their batteries can be from a single day to a couple of weeks. While a package of disposable batteries, depending on their size, usually costs less than $5, if they are powering an addiction forming device lie a GameBoy, you may burn through them the way a chain smoker burns through a pack of cigarettes.

While TV remotes, flashlights, and smoke detector batteries may only need changing once or twice a year, GameBoys, MP3s, and cell phones are different stories. Not only that; some of the most-used battery-powered devices require not one, but two batteries. The simple truth is, even disposable batteries can make a dent in the entertainment budget.

Environmental Issues

Not only that; actually disposing of disposable batteries has become an issue, and many landfills are no longer taking them because of the danger they pose to groundwater. Fortunately, many battery manufacturers have been ahead of the environmental curve in addressing this issue, and are now marketing rechargeable batteries to replace disposable ones. And they have gone one environmental step further by creating the solar battery charger.

Advantages Of Solar Battery Chargers

A solar battery charger has two advantages; unlike wall chargers, it does not use energy which you have to pay for to recharge your batteries, and unlike wall chargers, it does not require an electrical outlet. A solar batter charger has built in solar panels which, when placed in a sunny locations, gather the suns rays, which the charger converts to free electricity and feeds to your rechargeable battery or batteries.

As long as you have sun, youll have a way to keep you electronic devices up and running; and a solar battery charger can get your batteries fully recharged in as little as three hours on the brightest days. Most rechargeable batteries are equipped with a light to let you know when they have reached their full charge.

A solar battery charger is not large; in fact it is easily transportable so that you can move it to whatever location will provide the best sun exposure. With a solar battery charger and rechargeable batteries, you need never worry about running out of power for your electronic device again. And even better, you will be powering them with free, renewable, clean solar energy, stored in rechargeable batteries which require no environmentally-threatening disposal!

Solar Water Heater

Directions for a system that can heat seventy liters of water to sixty degrees Celsius.

Transcript of radio broadcast:
19 April 2009
This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
Solar water heaters are devices that use energy from the sun to heat water. Solar water heating is used around the world.

An example of a rooftop solar water heater being built in South Africa
The solar water heater described here is based on a design developed some years ago in Afghanistan. Since then, it has been built and used in many countries. It can heat seventy liters of water to sixty degrees Celsius. It can do this between sunrise and noon on a clear day with an average outside temperature of thirty-two degrees Celsius.

There are two parts to the solar water heater. One part is made of a sheet of metal painted black. This metal surface, placed in contact with the water, will heat the water. Black-painted surfaces that receive the sun's heat become hotter than surfaces of any other color.

The black metal plate is called a collector. There are several kinds of metal sheets that can be used for the collector. Metal sheets that have raised sections will work very well. These corrugated sheets often are used to make the roofs of houses.

Once the water is heated, it is kept hot with material called insulation. This allows the water to stay warm for a long time.

The second part of the solar water heater holds the water for the system. This storage tank can be a container that holds about one hundred liters. Two rubber pipes are attached to the water storage tank. One pipe lets water flow into the system. The other lets water flow out.

When the water heater is working correctly, water will flow from the storage tank to the collector and back again. You can use the hot water at the top of the tank for washing and cleaning. You can change the flow of water so that the temperature is hot or warm as desired.

This solar water heater is easy to build and operate. It will last about two years before the rubber pipes need to be replaced.

There is also something else you will need to make the solar water heater work -- the sun. As you might expect, the heater will heat water only on sunny days.

You can get more information about projects like solar water heaters from EnterpriseWorks/VITA. This nonprofit group works to fights poverty in many countries. The Web site is Choose the link for News & Resources, then click on Publications.

Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our reports are at

And that's the VOA Special English Development Report. I'm Steve Ember.

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