This is more of a proof of concept for both regular folk and fellow solar-hippie-alternative-energy freaks out there. There is no reason that anyone should have to pay for electricity to light their homes anymore. The majority of energy used in homes is from heating and cooling of one type or another, e.g., air conditioning, water heating, cooking, refrigeration.
Lighting takes up only 10 - 15% of energy used in homes today. With the price of LED lighting coming down this percentage could be cut by half or more. But why continue to pay for electricity for lighting at all when you can put out an initial payment on equipment and then be free of this charge on your monthly electric bill? Maintenance to a solar lighting system would primarily include occasional battery replacement. Other maintenance issues might be storm/hail damage (covered by home owners insurance---check with your insurance company) to solar panels or failure of electronic components such as a charge controller. On the bright side if you install a system and it lasts five years then hopefully solar panel production has increased and lowered the cost of your replacements. Not only would future solar panels be cheaper, but advances in the technology should also increase their efficiency giving you more bang for your buck.
I'm starting small. This is a simple solar night light.
Step 1: The Interior
This is where the light will be mounted. In the grill area to be exact. I know, I know, I know, it's a shame to not be using that as the charcoal grill that it is, but as far as we can tell it has never been used for that purpose. Maybe it was used many years ago in the 1960's, but now there is no hint of smoke or use at all. The chimney cap needs replacement and the top flue tiles of both chimneys need to be replaced. We also wouldn't feel comfortable using it without a vent fan installed on top of the chimney flue.
If anyone is a gifted metalworker out there . . . my ultimate dream for this grill would be to put decorative air tight doors over it and turn it into an indoor smoker. I guess it would still be useable as a grill as well. Indoor smoker . . . oh what a dream.
What was I talking about? Oh, yeah, solar lighting. . . .