You're probably thinking to yourself "Hey, isn't EVERY greenhouse solar powered?" To which you'd be correct. The greenhouse I've created is in fact a DOUBLE solar powered greenhouse in that it uses sunlight both day and night to help plants grow.
I live in Wisconsin, which is usually rather nice. Unfortunately Winter has been going full blast for months and shows no signs of letting up. For a mammal like myself, this kind of weather is annoying but not overly harmful. For my various house plants, however, this weather is quite deadly. Especially to the very small plants I'm trying to cultivate on my kitchen table.
To help my plants get a leg up on this weather I decided to build a greenhouse. The only problem is that a greenhouse only works part of the day when the sun is up. To give my plants a boost up, I'd have to throw on some grow lights which gets expensive and are overkill for my very small plants.
What I needed was a lighting system that turned on only at night. Not a tough task to accomplish so I decided to mix it up a bit and add an element of solar power to it. What I ended up with is a little acrylic plant incubator that runs night time lights powered by solar energy. (Just like the plants.)
Double Green Energy.
Step 1: What You Need
If you need some solar cells you can grab the one I used at my educational electronics website BrownDogGadgets.com. Otherwise all these parts can be found at local Radio Shacks or Maker Spaces.
2N3906 PNP Transistor
5K Ohm Resistor
2 AA Holder
2 Rechargeable AA Batteries
Solar Cell (I'm using a 5.5V 320mA Solar Cell)
Optional: Perf Boards to solder everything onto
(Or the super simple route of grabbing an old solar garden light and gutting it.)
Acrylic Cut Case
(Or going the super simple route of using a 2 Liter Soda Bottle cut in half.)