The sun produces energy that can be harnessed and turned into power in the form of electricity. One of the ways that solar energy is being used today is for solar home lighting. Today, solar home lighting is available for both indoor and outdoor uses.
Ancient Greeks and Native Americans used solar power by building their homes on hillsides that absorbed the sun's warmth during the day and released this warmth during the night hours. Romans built what now would be called green houses by constructing houses made of glass in which to grow plants. Swiss physicist Horace de Saussure(1740-1799), who is also known today as the founder of alpinism, was the first to make "hot boxes" or boxes that collected solar power in 1776, although Saussure did not seem to understand how the boxes actually worked.
Today's solar power collection systems are much more sophisticated than those made in the 1700s. In order for solar lights to be operational, the lights must be connected to solar panels. These solar panels can be part of the lighting unit itself or can be connected to the light and placed in a nearby location. When sunlight hits these panels, the heat of the light is converted to an electrical charge. The charge is then stored in a battery for use as needed.
Outdoor solar home lighting has several advantages over traditional outdoor lighting. For example, outdoor solar home lighting does not require wiring. This means that a person is less likely to cut underground wiring inadvertently while gardening and children are less likely to trip on exposed wires. In addition, moving outdoor solar home lighting as needed is easy and requires no fuss. The same advantages apply to indoor solar home lighting as people do not have to worry about electrical wiring and the light positions can be readily changed.
In addition to ease of use, solar home lighting is environmentally friendly. Sunlight is a renewable resource. Home power bills can also be reduced by the use of solar lighting.
On the negative side, solar lighting is brighter when first used and fades over time. In addition, solar home lighting might not be feasible in areas where the weather is often cloudy or overcast. Solar lighting might also not be appropriate in areas where daylight hours are short.