Solar Light Whiz: The Tubeless Skylight Alternative
Solar LED lights (also marketed as ‘Solar Skylights‘ or ‘Imitation Daylighting Devices‘) fill an important niche in home lighting. Traditional roof skylights comply with Section J of the National Construction Code (Roof Lights), which highlights the following:
…Roof light […] means a skylight, window, or the like installed in a roof—
(a) to permit natural light to enter the room below; and
(b) at an angle between 0 and 70 degrees measured from the horizontal plane.
Solar LED systems do not provide natural light, but they do provide artificial light through solar-powered LEDs. Artificial lighting complies with Australian Standard (AS/NZS 1680:0), which is entirely separate to skylights and roof lights in general.
In order to clarify the difference between traditional skylighting/daylighting systems and what used to be referred to as ‘Solar Skylights’ (now solar LED systems), we’ve set out to compare the two products.
Roof Skylights – What Are They?
Comparing roof skylights to Solar LED lights is a bit like comparing apples with oranges. While the two share the common goal of providing light to your home interior, they do so in fundamentally different ways.
Roof skylights (also known as roof lights, roof solar skylights, tubular skylights) channel the sun’s light directly into your home, providing natural lighting with the sun’s availability. These can be quite fashionable, allowing for statement architecture pieces or feature lights.
Here’s a handy shortlist of some of the pros & cons for both Solar LED systems, as well as roof skylights.
Roof Skylight Pros:
Skylights funnel sunlight into your home.
2) Natural Dimming
With the sunrise and sunset, and overcast weather, the skylight will dim.
Skylights can be great household features.
Roof Skylight Cons:
1) Heat Contribution
Roof spaces (without a skylight) already contribute to about 25-35% of the heat in your home. A skylight is literally a window for the sun’s heat and light to radiate into your home. No amount of glazing is going to prevent that.
2) UV Radiation
While you’re getting daylight in your home, UV radiation will also enter your home. This will cause the progressive fading of fabrics and objects in the light over time. You need to be especially mindful about this if you have expensive furniture and/or paintings in the room.
3) Prone to Damage
Hail storms frequently destroy large numbers of skylights throughout Australia (Check this link for an example of a broken skylight after a hail storm in Texas), often with severe consequences for homes and/or contents. Damage and leak repairs for skylights is big business, and expensive—a quick internet search confirms this.
4) Limited Options for Placement
The structure of your roof limits your options for where to place a skylight—and it is virtually impossible to get daylight from a skylight into lower floors of multi-storey buildings
5) Expensive to Install
It takes a qualified builder or contractor to install a roof skylight, which can come with high labour and installation costs, especially if your skylight is being installed after the home has been built.
Some skylights (particularly rectangular roof light shafts) can take up large volumes of the area in your roof space, reducing storage area or even obstructing airflow for ventilation.
7) Single Lighting Outlet
Most skylights only have a single lighting outlet. This can mean that light concentrates in one area of the room, rather than evenly distributing light and properly illuminating the entire space. Installing an additional skylight to counteract this will most likely cost just as much as the first skylight.
Additional Skylight Issues
A traditional roof skylight looks nice when first installed. However, traditional skylights require regular cleaning to maintain their aesthetic. Cleaning a roof skylight can be difficult and time-consuming and this need is often neglected. In humid environments and spaces with poor ventilation, a traditional skylight can become fogged or covered in condensation. This is especially the case when the indoor and outdoor temperatures are different. Fogged skylights can cause streaking on the glass and can lead to problems with condensation and mould.
Condensation on skylights
Condensation on skylights often leads to the growth of mould. Mould in skylights is unsightly and bad for your health. The development of mould on your skylight due to condensation will make the skylight harder to clean. Furthermore, issues associated with condensation on skylights can quickly begin to affect other parts of your home by causing damage and dampness to the skylight and surrounding fixtures.
The best way to avoid mould in skylights is to avoid traditional skylights altogether. Solar skylight alternatives like Solar Light Whiz can be safely installed in your home without the need to constantly clean or worry about condensation and mould, or the problems that come with them.
Solar LED Pros:
Solar LED lights can be installed almost anywhere in your home or office: hard to reach spaces where a skylight can’t be fitted, lower floors in multi-story buildings, or even in walls for a vertical fixture!
2) Easy to Install
Any competent handyman can install these with minimal effort.
3) No Heat Contribution
LED lights produce a negligible amount of heat
4) Wide Variety
Solar LEDs from Solar Light Whiz come in a variety of shapes and sizes, allowing for simple lighting setups, or skylight alternatives that create a feature piece for your home.
With a variety of accessories, a Solar LED installation can be powered at night with a Night Operation Kit, recessed or spaced from the ceiling, dimmed with a single or multi-channel dimmer and more.
6) Dims Naturally
With the availability of sunlight, a Solar Light Whiz Solar LED system will dim naturally, such as fading in at sunrise and fading out at sunset. Even in low-light conditions, a Solar LED Light will emit a soft light.
7) Dims as Required
Unlike skylights, Solar Light Whiz also gives you the option to dim or turn off you solar light with optional dimmer switches, if you so desire.
8) Night-time Lighting
Solar Light Whiz offers optional night operation kits for our range of skylight alternatives, allowing you to run them at full capacity in low-light or no-light conditions.
Solar LED Cons:
1) No Daylight
Solar LEDs and Skylight Alternatives do not produce natural daylight or sunlight, nor do they channel it into your home. They produce light output in accordance with the amount of sunlight the system’s solar panel receives (unless it is powered by mains electricity via a night operation kit).
2) Blue Light
Skylight manufacturers have found that high blue content can cause severe glare and eyestrain, however, Solar Light Whiz has addressed this by opting for a warmer colour temperature than other skylight alternative suppliers.
Solar LED Lights – How do they Work?
Home lighting with Solar LED Lights is a simple concept that involves 4 main components to bring solar power to your home lighting:
The Solar Light Whiz System
1) PV Panel
Solar Light Whiz provides adjustable PV panel frames to allow you to tilt your PV panel to receive maximum sunlight exposure throughout the day.
Panels range from 25W to 260W, giving you the flexibility to install multiple Solar LED Lights in your home from a single panel!
2) Splitters/Wiring Harnesses
To bring solar power to your LED lights, we offer a range of leads and splitters of varying lengths to help reach the farthest edges of your home!
3) LED Drivers
Our LED lights are connected via LED drivers that act as transformers for low-voltage bulbs. These allow your Solar LED Lights to function and perform at their best throughout the day and into the night when paired with Night Operation Kits!
4) Solar Lighting LED Panels
Our solar lighting LED panels offer rectangular, square and circular lights. These come in a variety of sizes to cater to your personal home lighting needs.
Looking for a large feature light? We can do that! Looking for small-scale lighting for a wardrobe? We can do that too!
If you’re looking to customise your installation, we also offer recessed solar LED panel installation, as well as wall-mounting. If you have an idea, we’ll work with you to see what we can do!