The demand for energy saving products is on the rise and this has triggered a sharp rise in the demand for solar energy products and solutions. The reasoning for people is simple. Every one wants to benefit from lower energy costs, and reduce their environmental impact.
The market, as always, has happily obliged. You must have seen a slew of products targeted towards the developing solar-energy market. One of these products is solar tube lighting. In this article we’ll go over the drawbacks to solar tube lighting to show that solar doesn’t always mean better.
What is Solar Tube Lighting?
First things first, what even is solar tube lighting? Well, it goes by many names to be honest. The list of alternate names is exhaustive and not worth your time. The key thing to ask is what constitutes a solar tube light?
The answer to this is simple. As long as it uses the sun as it’s only source of light, it is called a solar tube light. It provides lighting equivalent to a 100-watt bulb, and comes in sizes between 10-14 inches in diameter. This makes it appealing for many people.
The Drawbacks to Solar Tube Lighting
To be clear we’re not saying that there is any lighting system that is perfect. All of them do fall short in one way or the other. The point of discussing the drawbacks to solar tube lighting is to show that you shouldn’t make a decision based solely on the word “solar”. Here are the drawbacks that you should know. We hope you’ll be able to make the right decision for you, based on them.
1. Suitability Limits
Most lights are of the “plug and play” variety. That is, you rarely have to worry if you have the right kind of roofing for it. Solar tube lights are limited by their environment. The roof should have a slope between 15-60 degrees. Installation becomes incredibly tricky on flat surfaces.
The lights are made to be used on wooden or asphalt-based roofs; any other material will require additional items such as an adaptor.
2. Space Requirements
Solar tube lights require a lot of space to be installed, due to the way they work. You could always make compromises, but the ideal effect of the lights can only be experienced in a large space where the lights have plenty of room. This will create a well-lit room. Cutting-corners in this regard can result in poor lighting.
3. Two Words. Eggs. Basket.
We all know the old saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. Well, if your light source is completely dependent on one source, it becomes useless when that source disappears. This can happen due to bad cloudy weather. You will also need to make considerations for nighttime lighting.
4. Flow Control
Since the lighting is completely dependent on the sun, you cannot increase or decrease the intensity of the lighting. Say you need to focus on something specific, or just want to find something you’ve lost in the room. It’s also possible that you’d like to take a nap in the dark. Not having control over the intensity of the light is a huge drawback to solar tube lighting.
Having poor lighting in a room can result in lower productivity and strain on the eyes. It can even affect your mood. Therefore, it is crucial that you keep this in mind when making a decision. If you frequently find yourself in need of bright lighting, solar tube lighting is probably not right for you.
5. Costs to Consider
The installation cost for a tube lighting system is rather expensive. You may argue that over time it pays for itself. Fair enough, but you still need to incur the cost upfront. You’ll need to make sure you invest enough money, that the system can replicate the kind of lighting you received via conventional electric bulbs. All these costs add up, so be mindful that you know exactly the kind of financial hit you’ll be taking.
6. Conventional is Dependable
Sure, conventional lighting is expensive in the longer run. However, it is important to remember that billions of people around the world rely on it every day. Solar energy and its support equipment are still relatively new. They’ve made progress in leaps and bounds; nobody is contesting that. Yet they only see a fraction of the use that conventional systems see.
Solar tube lights aren’t like solar panels, they offer a lot of benefits but not the kind that you immediately abandon what you have. Plus, they can go out if there’s a hint of bad weather. Use them for aesthetic and non-essential purposes. Don’t rely on them for everyday tasks.
Our Final Thoughts
So, the next time you ask yourself what are the drawbacks to solar tube lighting, know that there are many. While it is renewable energy, and comes at a fraction of the cost of conventional energy sources, there are certain downsides that make them an impractical option for many individuals.