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Solar Energy News

What's happening around the world in the solar industry and how it might affect you

When Stephanie Snyder in Denver started shopping for Valentine’s Day gifts for her techy and environmentally-aware beau, she looked to the sun.

Solar-powered gadgets have launched from silly Cracker Jack prizes into the realm of sophisticated, useful and even affordable gifts.

There are gobs of awesome solar-powered gifts out there for the one who lights up your life.

Snyder started with a simple Amazon.com search and decided to get her man a bouquet of flowers—solar-powered garden flower stake-lights with LED bulbs sell for just $22.

“I just thought they were cute,” she said. “They’re more of joke than anything.”

In the search, she found some cute potted solar-powered sunflowers featuring big smiling faces that bounce electronically.

While flowers are a nice touch, Snyder really wanted to get him something he’d actually use and appreciate.

For her boyfriend, an avid computer-junky who pulls his keyboard onto his lap and leans back in his chair to play video games or surf the web, she settled on the Logitech wireless solar keyboard that absorbs both natural and ambient light indoors to power itself. At under $80 a pop, the keyboards are not really any more expensive than a regular wireless keyboard, Snyder said.

To round out her “light of my life” solar gift basket, Snyder bought a solar-powered back-up charger from ReVive for $19.99 so her fella can keep his blackberry juiced up on the go.

The solar-themed gift is sure to be a hit. But she said if she had more money, she would have gone bigger. There are a lot of cool solar gift ideas out there that could really put a spark in the relationship.

SunTable builds a state-of-the-art outdoor table that soaks up the sun and powers a built-in lithium-ion battery that can be used to charge small appliances. A solar-powered automatic lawnmower has shown up on the radar that does the dirty work for you and then returns itself to its charging station. The solar panels on it prolong the gadget’s battery life.

An OffGrid solar backpack for just $250 will keep iPods and iPhones charged for long wilderness hikes. And solar flash lights, solar cookers, solar boom boxes and super-sophisticated solar battery chargers are all available in the wide world of solar technology now.