With the recent shift in people’s choices towards renewable sources of energy, solar energy has gained much importance among people. Solar lights utilize solar energy. However many people are raising questions about the advantages and disadvantages of this form of energy.
Solar lights are used mainly for outdoor use. But it also raises the question in the minds of many people as to whether they can be used in a conservatory.
In this article, we will be discussing whether solar lights are fit for usage in a conservatory.
Can you use solar lights in a conservatory?
Since solar lights are primarily used for outdoor lighting purposes, a very commonly asked question is whether they can be used in indoor spaces like in a conservatory.
A conservatory is made of glass. And the good news is that solar lights can work through glass. The solar lights will continue working properly as long as sunlight passes through the glass to the light. However, they will not be efficient to the maximum level due to some reasons.
The first reason for the inefficiency is that the sunlight that gets reflected off the glass gets lost to the solar panel. The panel as a result will not be able to charge properly. The amount of sunlight that will be lost will depend on the thickness of the glass and other factors. As a result, the solar light will not be successful in generating electricity to its full potential.
Secondly, the angle at which the rays of the sun fall also plays a major role in charging the solar lights. The sun is at its highest during the middle of the day. It is during this time that solar panels can be charged most efficiently. Placing the solar lights behind glass windows reduces their potential when getting charged. Roofs, trees, and window frames as well as other obstacles reduce the rate of charging up of the solar panels.
Place the solar lights behind a window that faces the south direction. It will ensure that the solar lights receive an efficient charge. If you place the solar panels facing north, they will not be charged properly.
Can solar-powered lights be used indoors?
Solar lights get their energy from the sun and then turn this energy into electricity. They work best outside the homes of individuals. But can they work inside as well? Will they be as efficient inside your homes as they are outside?
Many people do not have much knowledge about these solar lights. They believe that they can be used only in sunny areas. This is however a misconception. Solar lights can be placed indoors. They just need to be installed at a place where the solar lights can get sufficient sunlight daily. Or else, they will need an artificial light source to charge up the solar light.
How to use outdoor solar lights indoors?
The outdoor solar lights can be used indoors too. There are many ways in which they can be changed so that they can be used for different works inside homes and offices.
- Even when there is limited sunlight or indirect sunlight, the solar lights can be charged. Keeping the solar cell directly towards the sun will help to charge the panel efficiently. The window must not have any blockages so that the sunlight can be well received.
- Mirrors can be used for reflecting the rays of the sun. One can place solar panels under a window to reflect the rays on the panel.
- Artificial lighting also enables one to use outdoor solar lighting indoors. Incandescent bulbs can be used for charging solar panels. These bulbs have the same wavelengths and spectrum as that of the sun. They can be used for charging solar lights in the absence of the sun.
- Using LED lights is another helpful way of charging solar panels. They are good substitutes for incandescent bulbs. They provide the same results as the bulbs. Using a higher Watt LED light is advisable when charging a solar light. That will improve efficiency to a great extent.
- Solar lights can also be charged using electricity. Some solar LED lights have cords and chargers. They can be easily charged with the help of electricity or power banks. Though this is a handy method of charging solar panels, it might be more costly than the other methods.
Does solar power work through glass?
Yes, solar power can work through glass. The solar panels when it was initially introduced had low KW potential. They had to be kept in fields or rooftops to efficiently generate solar power for varied usages.
Now solar panels are available in multiple shapes and sizes. Modern solar panels have also more KW power. They can even be installed in the windows or behind the glasses.
If an individual uses solar panels behind tinted glasses, it will impact the working capacity of the solar panel. It is better to avoid keeping the solar panel behind such glasses. However, if it is exposed to an ideal amount of sunlight, it will work properly. The tint on the window will obstruct half of the sunlight striking the surface. The other half will be able to go through and reach the solar panel for powering it.
For optimizing the amount of solar energy through glass, there are a few steps that one can follow.
- Get the most amount of direct sunlight on the solar panel by facing it southwards.
- Using a small portable solar panel can be helpful. It can be moved to different places where the most sunlight is present.
- For reducing energy loss due to refraction or shade from the windows, the solar panels must be kept closest to the glass.
- One can keep the window open and let the daylight come in for charging the solar panels properly.
Solar lights are designed to produce energy from the rays of the sun. However, they do not require the direct rays of the sun for gathering energy and turning it into electricity for different uses. Direct sunlight leads to a stronger charge. Sunlight is not required for generating power. Artificial lighting sources can also be used for powering solar lights.
To conclude solar lights can be used in indoor settings like in a conservatory. Even if there is no direct access to the sun’s rays, one can use solar lights for lighting up the conservatory. No matter what process one chooses, solar lights will surely help in lighting up indoor spaces.
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as a Solar Electrical Engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.