The first priority when I conceived my home to be solar powered was to ensure I always had lights. In the darkness it can be scary yea? Maybe not. Anyhow I wanted lighting that does not suck the life out of a battery bank like a tick does with blood.
Before we continue please take a look at my battery bank instructable to understand how I stored my energy.
Also the switching between utility and battery power is shown in this instructable.
As always, all my instructables are overviews of how I chose to safely implement my idea. If they don't satisfy your needs then you have to do you own research. Any technical questions I'm more than happy to answer for You.
Step 1: Photovoltaic Panels to Harvest Sunlight.
My lighting load is very small compared to the other electrical loads in my home. The eight 225watt panels in the photo is for all loads including an air conditioning unit.
There are oem and diy methods to secure photovoltaic panels. The choice will be up to the owner.
Step 2: Using the Most Efficient Lighting Device.
Once you talk efficient lighting, led is the champ. Forget incandescent and fluorescent. For the same lumen output led will always consume less watts. For me, most of my rooms use 4watt or 9watt depending on the room size. It's your preference on how bright you want your rooms and outside lighting.
Leds come in standard base sizes and 120volt so they are quick and easy replacements for other bulb types.
An important note about leds, they need cooling. Putting them in a sealed fixture is not recommended for maximum life.
Step 3: Enjoy Efficient Green Lighting!
Now with a fully equipped home having led lights your batteries will last longer and you won't have to worry about annoying blackouts like your neighbors.