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While at my university has motion-sensor lights in the restrooms, I realized that many other places do not. (The rest areas in Tennessee are a perfect example.) However, they do have those automatic flushing devices. Presumably, they use batteries or somesuch.

But why not put small solar panels on top of the flushers, akin to those for a solar calculator? They could cheaply recharge batteries and extend life, couldn't they?

An easy in-line recharger like that could have many applications in the business world - hospitals, stadiums, and the like. With energy prices likely to rise (either due to the environmental costs of coal or the market costs of oil), the concept of catching and using otherwise "wasted" light for things like so-called vampire appliances.

Yes, we are talking about small amounts of power, and small amounts of cost. But with the relative cost of solar (remember, I'm predicting "conventional" energy costs to rise) dropping, there is room for near-ubiquitous small solar reclamation of energy.


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