Green for less: Here comes the sun

Sure, solar lighting for the home is nothing new. Lowe's and Home Depot already offer sun-powered lights for the backyard, porch, and patio. The technology is changing so fast and still finding its footing in the mass market. The latest offering, by Ikea, is especially exciting for its innovation in design and affordability. (Who else but Ikea, a famously green company, can pack such a punch?)

Ikea brings you Sunnan, an LED desk lamp powered by Apollo himself. (Tar and feather me, I love my Greek mythology). Fully charged, the long-necked lamp can glow for four hours and takes 9-12 hours of daylight to re-charge. Of course, if the sun's not out, then you may have to set aside some candles; recharging will take "over 12 hours on a cloudy day," according to the product description on the company's website.

The desk lamps come in blue, green, red, orange,and yellow and cost around $20, a small investment for saving money on your electrical bill. And, the best thing about it, you don't have that icky electrical cord that's always plugged in, sucking up your electricity even when your lamp's not in use. Did you know, by unplugging household appliances, like your toaster and hair dryer, when not in use, can save $10 a month on your electricity bill? Imagine how much you can save if all your lighting came from the sun?

Ikea also offers some fun lights for the outdoors, like SOLIG glow sticks, that can create a romantic, exciting ambiance on par with Madhatter tea lights, just an austere, post-modern version, still very mood-setting.

As long as solar lighting continues to look this chic, the future is bright, regardless of finicky cloud coverage. If we can put a man on the moon, then we can rely on the sun for our power. It's up to forward thinking companies like Ikea to bring consumers the smart options we need.

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