Build Solar Lights

Solar power can be harvested for a variety of uses.

As questions regarding carbon footprints become more and more important with the advent of global warming and all of its associated risks, finding ways to harvest free or low cost energy from the sun, wind and water is becoming more relevant to the every-day person. There are various types of projects that can be done ranging from installing solar panels or wind generators to installing small solar powered lamps along a walkway. The goal is not only to create a free source of energy for years to come, but also to find ways that our lives are made more convenient and sustainable. Does this Spark an idea?


1. Designate a location where you can place your DC lamp, which will be connected to your solar power cell, or photovoltaic cell (PVC). The DC lamp does not need to be located close to your PVC, although it does create less work for you if there is not as much wiring to be run from the PVC to the battery and lamp. Ideally you will want a location that offers a south-facing view of the sun and the ability to mount the PVC at an angle that can catch the sun’s rays.

2. Mount the solar panel cell. You want to mount it at an angle between 30 and 40 degrees so that it catches the maximum amount of sunlight for charging the battery. Depending on your location, there are several different mounting options. Ideally, you will want to mount it with a couple of brackets or a housing component on a pole or a rooftop. Make sure that there are no overhanging branches or objects that could fall on your solar panel and damage it at any time.

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3. Mount your DC lamp. Some DC lamp models are also equipped with timers so that once the sun goes down, you can still enjoy the benefits of daylight. Mount the lamp so that it illuminates as large an area as possible. The DC lamp should also have an on-off control box that you can connect to an accessible area if the lamp itself is going to be hanging high overhead. Mount the control box where you can easily find it when it is dark.

4. Wire your solar panel to the charge controller and then to the battery. The charge controller will help keep the battery from becoming overloaded with excess electricity. This is essential in any system, whether solar, wind or hydroelectric, where there is the potential for a continuous influx of energy.

5. Wire the battery to the lamp controller switch and to the lamp. Check your work by turning on the lamp to see if it is working.