Monday, August 18, 2014

Interview - Lisa Bell of

Interview - Lisa Bell of
Lisa Bell of
I first met Lisa Bell on Ozoshare. Her profile fascinated me. She shared a lot of great content on everyday solar products.

As I got acquainted with Lisa, I learned that she owns where, in addition to selling solar items, she educates both adults and children on solar energy. I've found wonderful articles and resources on the site.

I recently had the opportunity to ask Lisa a few questions. Here's our interview:

SF:  Hi Lisa, thanks for joining us today. When did you first become interested in solar power?

Lisa:  I have been interested in solar energy since my grown children were little. I don’t like to be wasteful and if the sunlight is there I believe we are wasting it we aren’t using it. We started the site back in 2008. Even then it was hard to find a .com with solar in it. My mom had told me that she thought we had an ancestor that was in the Blackfoot tribe. I went to the Native American Language Site and looked up the Blackfoot word for sun. It was long and unpronounceable. When my husband was in the Navy we lived out west and when we came east we passed many reservations. The Dakota Tribe interested me so I looked it up and their word for sun was Anpa Wi. We became Anpa Then about 2 years ago we added the domain It sounds familiar and personal and that is the way we want people to feel when they visit our site.

SF:  How has solar power changed your life?

Lisa:  I have more lights in my yard than ever! I use the lights for everything from decorations to lighting our paths in the yard. It used to bug me when we would go off for the day and get back at night that there was no light. When you leave at 9 am you shouldn’t have to leave a light on all day just so you don’t trip at night. The solar lights that I use have photo sensors and some have motions sensors. The light does not have to be left on all day to work and it doesn’t cost me anything to use it.

I have written about, researched and gotten to try (maybe I should say play with since I have so much fun) with solar products. I am gadget lover so I like using the flashlights and the solar chargers. When I charge the batteries with solar power and put the batteries in my purse or pocket I think of it as keeping some sunshine in my pocket.

The most fun I think I had was building the solar mini house that I use for science fairs and school demonstrations. I made the floors and walls see through so that the kids can see how the wires go from the roof to the house and into the light and fan the run when the house is in the sun. I picked up some doll house furniture to go with it. That house also showed me that my carpentry skills need some work!

SF:  What, in your opinion, is the biggest misconception about solar powered products?

Lisa:  That the products are cheap and they don’t last. Also that they don’t work when the weather is overcast or cloudy. I have had some products that didn’t last as long as I thought they should have. I decided that quality was the better choice so I have taken on a lot of products that are American made. The manufacturers have been very helpful. Our SolarGoose flashlights are made in America from recycled Aluminum. The Gomadic portable solar panels are also made here and I have found the quality on both be very high.

SF:  I notice that you sell solar products on your site. What are some of the more popular items?

Lisa:  Our flashlights are very popular and so are the outdoor lights. I think the most popular are the portable solar panels otherwise known as solar battery chargers. I take them to craft fairs to charge phones and other devices as a courtesy.

SF:  Solar energy is very "green". What other steps do you take to live an Eco-friendly life?

Lisa:  I didn’t think we did that much until I started looking around the house. I know there is a lot more that we could do but here is what I have so far.
  • Interview - Lisa Bell of
    I have painted up a silhouette of a Greyhound (I volunteer at the local shelter). The wood that it was cut out of was repurposed from a crate they got. The hound has one of my solar lights around its neck.
  • In my craft business/ hobby, I use repurposed slates to paint on and I have gotten wood from a local children’s furniture company that they were going to throw out.
  • I reuse plastic peanut butter jars for use in the kitchen and I use them to give food gifts at the holidays. I use old medicine bottles to save my small craft and other small items.
  • I reuse the plastic takeout containers for use in my kitchen. They recycle a lot more than plastic zip bags, which I also reuse, and they are clear so it is a lot easier to organize.
  • I donate old blankets to the local animal shelters and old clothing goes to people who need it.
  • I shop at yard sales and thrift stores for some things as well.

SF:  Do you utilize solar and/or photovoltaic panels on your home?

Lisa:  No, we don’t have an array for the house. We are renting in anticipation of moving to our own home. We have plans already in place to use solar energy when we do move.

SF:  Any advice for folks interested in solar power?

Interview - Lisa Bell of
Solar Fountain Pump
Lisa:  Yes. Remember solar energy is not something that you have to either go big or go home with. If you are not familiar with it start small. Use quality small products like battery chargers and flashlights. Keep them on hand for emergency or everyday use. They are so easy to use, just set them in the sun and go about your business. It doesn’t get much easier than that. When you have used the small products you will be more mentally prepared to go to your own solar electric and hot water systems. I find that when people get familiar with solar energy, or anything, it doesn’t seem nearly as mysterious and then they move forward with more projects.

SF:  Thanks, Lisa ... it's been a pleasure chatting with you!

Lisa:  Thank you for inviting me. I have enjoyed reading your blog and I am happy to be a part of it!

Lisa: Thank you for having me on a Small Footprints. I love getting to chat with others like this. I wanted to let you know that you and a few others inspired me to do a basics article about things to consider when you want to put in a solar energy system. Go to this link and follow the instructions to get the free download. Also stay tuned as we will be getting a little more technical with the next article.

Have a very Sunny Day!

If you would like to contact me you may do so at:
Our Website:
Our Phone number: 866.478.9080