Picture of Solar Interior Lighting (Getting Your Solar Feet Wet)
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.
luxstar2 days ago

You can save a little money on a system of this size or larger by using a "dead" car battery that will no longer start a car but still is capable of supplying lower levels of current. My 20 watt set up works fine with a "dead" battery:


hi there, I have just completed a full 12v dc solar lighting system, whole house all lights
I have posted an Instructable here http://www.instructables.com/id/12v-DC-trapeze-lighting-for-not-much-cash/ let me know if you want any pointers. Our system also pumps rainwater for the loo. whole thing built on an extremely tight budget or using begged and blagged bits and bobs regards rob
The plug you showed in your last picture is known as a SAE plug and is usually found on low power solar installations :)

dlewisa (author)  Callum Snowden3 years ago
Thank you.
MacOSJoey3 years ago
Do you ever have any problems with the heat from the chimney? I don't know if you use it regularly, but does the panel warp or short because of the sudden heat in the colder winter months?
dlewisa (author)  MacOSJoey3 years ago
The chimney is used just as a gas log vent. There isn't enough heat from it to effect anything. It probably gets hotter from being in the sun. If someone had a wood burning stove I don't think it would effect it much as long as they had a decent space between the panel and chimney for air circulation.