Solar Tribune

Holiday Guide To Solar Gifts


We generally stick to serious solar news and analysis, but even we like to take a break to get into the holiday spirit!

Does it feel like the holidays are all about consuming? Let solar energy bring a little sustainability to your seasonal celebration! We at Solar Tribune are dreaming of a greener Christmas, so here is our seasonal solar gift guide!

In the Northern hemisphere, the days are growing short as we approach the winter solstice- the shortest day of the year. It may seem like a strange time to be thinking about collecting energy from the sun, but with the holiday shopping season kicking off this weekend, it’s actually an excellent time to consider adding a little solar power to Santa’s celebration. You don’t have to cover your roof with solar panels to enjoy saving energy, money and reducing your carbon footprint with solar.

Cool Solar Toys

Solar toys can be educational as well as a lot of fun. There are a lot of great kits out there that give kids a chance to experiment and learn, and others are just plain entertaining. A few of our favorites include:


NSI Smithsonian Eco Rover

Kids 8 and up can build their own working rover with the NSI Smithsonian Eco Rover. The bright orange and green rover is easy to assemble, sturdy, and operates in forward and reverse. One cool feature- in case of cloudy days, it comes with a nifty hand-crank generator to provide power. A great hands-on experience!

Best Online Price: On sale for $37.99 at Kohls.

4M KidsLabs Solar Mechanic Science Kit

Like the Eco Rover, this Solar Mechanics kit comes with both solar panels and a hand crank generator. It can be assembled to power a vibrating robot that slides across the floor, A cooling fan, an illusion and more. The fun and the power are unlimited. This green science kit is environmentally friendly and uses repurposed materials. Again, for kids 8 and up.

Best Online Price: $15.95 at Walmart.

Solar Powered Thomas Edison Figurine

Wait, What? I know it’s goofy, but I love this one. Set the great inventor in the sun, and when he is charged up, you can turn on the lightbulb in his hand! How cool is that? Well, if Edison isn’t your favorite, you can also get a solar Einstein, a solar Pope, a solar Napoleon, or a solar Queen Elizabeth. They are all made by novelty company Kikkerland, who makes other nifty solar gizmos as well.

Best online price: $25.00 from Kikkerland

Solar Decorations

LED Solar String Lights

These unique droplet-shaped lights add a unique effect to outdoor holiday lighting. Place the small solar panel in the direct sun during the day for 8 hours of light at night on a full charge. The kit includes a 20-foot-long string of 30 lights with solar-rechargeable battery.

Best online price: $10.95 Amazon Prime

Solar Star Lanterns

These lanterns add a lot of impact and are easy to put up and take down. They are high-quality, durable, have an integrated solar panel on top and an auto on/off feature to bring them on at dark. I also like that they have an easy to replace rechargeable battery, unlike so many of the cheap solar yard lights.

Best online price: $34.95 at Plow and Hearth

Solar Nativity Scene

For a traditional Christmas display powered with safe, clean solar power, this is a pretty nifty-looking product. According to the manufacturer: Crafted from iron, this celestial figure is powered by the solar panel attachment. The solar panel requires 1 AA battery to operate, which is included. When fully powered, these garden stakes glow for up to 8 hours. The Size is: 23″x28″.

Best online price: $39.99 at Cokesbury

Solar Gifts

Solar Backpack

There are a lot of backpacks and laptop bags with integrated solar panels these days, but in a lot of cases the panel and battery isn’t big enough to give a lot of charge, and they are light on features. Not so with the Ghostek NRGsolar Series 40L Eco Laptop/messenger backpack. This bag is well built and compact but has a compartment large enough for a 15” laptop. It also features a 16,000mAh Battery + 8.8-Watt Solar Panel, 5 USB Ports Total (2-Ports On Solar Panel, 2-Ports Inside Backpack, 1 External Port) and an Integrated LED Power Bar Indicator.

Best Online Price: $99.95 at Amazon Prime

All-American Sun Oven

This solar cooker has been around for a while, and anyone who has used one knows how fun and effective they are! The Sun Oven is American made by a small mom & pop company, which I like. It is perfect for cookouts, campouts, scout troops, 4H clubs and schools. It will bake bread or cookies, cook a dutch oven meal, make jerky or dehydrate fruit and vegetables for storage. Since it uses no flame, it’s great for using at parks or on a boat!

Best Online Price: $261.00 at Solar Home

Homepower Magazine Subscription

If you know someone who is into renewable energy, there is no better publication than Home Power. A subscription will keep them up to date on the latest in solar, windpower, micro-hydro, electric vehicles… whatever is out there, Home Power covers it. AND- the online archives go all the way back to 1987! It’s fun to go back and read about the real pioneers in the field, and there are some pretty cool DIY projects that are still relevant and educational. Endless hours of fun!!

One year subscription: $14.95 at Home Power

Charitable Gifts

While you are enjoying all of your blessings this holiday season, please remember those less fortunate. This year, you can give a charitable gift that will deepen your commitment to solar energy while helping our fellow Americans who are without electricity.

From the Solar Saves Lives website:

In September 2017, Hurricanes Maria and Irma swept across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, devastating the lives of 3.5 million American citizens. Several weeks after the storms, the islands remain in urgent need of reliable electricity, clean water, and food. Full restoration of the power grid is expected to take months. Remote and rural locations have been hit especially hard.

The American solar industry has a unique and immediate opportunity to help. Solar and solar + storage technologies can help communities restore electricity and provide essential services like lighting, refrigeration, and fresh water. This will help address immediate, short-term needs while building a more resilient electricity grid for the future.

Solar Saves Lives is an initiative led by The Solar Foundation to coordinate the delivery and installation of donated solar equipment to areas in need.

Recent Posts