Sunlight is a free, renewable, environmentally friendly, and unlimited source of energy, so why don’t we take advantage of it more often? For a long time, solar technology was too expensive to be put to much use unless you were willing to have a complex array of rigid, oversized photovoltaic panels mounted on your house. In the last few years, however, the process of manufacturing solar panels has come a very long way. Technological innovations are making solar power more versatile, accessible, and easy to integrate into our daily lives. For instance, you can now buy a set of solar panel blinds.

SolarGaps

When you think about it, many of the buildings we live, work, eat, and shop in are often so inundated by harsh rays of sunlight, we already have to block them out with blinds or curtains. That’s a whole lot of potential solar energy, and the majority of us are letting it go to waste every single day. SolarGaps wants people to capture that energy and use it, and their blinds don’t require any complicated installation. Unlike most solar products, SolarGaps was created with apartment dwellers in mind, and it’s designed to look like a set of traditional window blinds, so you don’t have to worry about it being an eyesore.

SolarGaps

Everything you need to produce your own solar energy and sustainably power your electronics is included in a single set of SolarGaps blinds. Got a super sunny south-facing office window? Screw these blinds on outside, and you’ll be ready to juice up your laptop, phone, and other gadgets while simultaneously saving money on your electricity bills! All you have to do is plug them in, and they immediately start harvesting and generating energy.

SolarGaps - Home

If you buy multiple units and produce more power than you need, you can always store it in the SolarGaps battery bank to use later on in the event of an emergency. Alternatively, you can choose to feed excess energy back into the grid through a two-way meter to earn some credit from your utility provider. The coolest part is that the blinds automatically track the sun and adjust their own angles to it for optimal power production throughout the day. If you ever feel like it, you can monitor how much sunlight they’re receiving and how much electricity they’re generating from the accompanying SolarGaps smartphone app. SolarGaps is easy to integrate with smart devices like Echo, Nest Thermostat, and Google Home, so you’ll be able to control it via voice commands, too. You can even program the blinds to open when someone enters the room and close when they leave.

SolarGaps - Automation

According to SolarGaps, you can reduce your apartment, home, or business electricity bill by up to 70 percent. That number might seem large, but it makes sense considering the blinds generate 100W-150W of renewable energy for each 10 square feet of covered window space: enough to power 30 LED light bulbs or three MacBooks. The company allows you to order as little as a single blind slat, which can single-handedly charge your phone, tablet, or mp3 player. For a lower price, you can buy a non-automated version of SolarGaps. A three-room apartment with south-facing windows can produce up to 600 watt-hours per day, and in an office or retail building, there’s potential to generate ten times that much.

SolarGaps - Mobile App

In short, SolarGaps are one of those inventions that make you say, “why didn’t we think of that earlier?”