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Community and Q&A

Tube skylight, Solaro Day, or just an LED fixture?

user-1087436 | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

We have a back hallway in the house we’re building that will need to be lighted. We’re definitely not getting a standard skylight. My wife wants a tubular skylight. I’ve been looking at a product called the “Solaro Day” PV fixture which uses a small solar panel on the roof that powers an LED ceiling fixture inside. It uses DC power, to light Osram LEDs. Here’s a link:
The Solaro has the advantage of needing only a 1/2″ hole in the roof and ceiling. The Solatube would be at least a 10″ and bigger hole in my beautiful pile of attic cellulose. Question: Does anyone have any experience with the “Solaro Day” fixture? On Amazon, which sells it, there’s only one EXTREMELY negative review. There’s another answer to my question, of course: just buy a bright LED fixture and put it on a motion sensor. What do people think of the options? Thank you!

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Called the Solaro Day a "solar skylight" (on the Katahdin Cedar Log Homes web site) is deceptive. This is just an electric ceiling fixture -- perhaps with a battery -- that is connected to a roof-mounted PV module.

    The negative review on the Amazon site would be enough to scare me away from the product.

    A tubular skylight only makes sense if you are usually at your house during the daytime. If you and your wife have jobs, and work during the day, you'll probably use electric lights when you are home, except on weekends. Skylights make more sense for commercial and office locations (which are occupied during daylight hours) than for homes.

  2. user-1087436 | | #2

    Good point. Thanks, Martin.

  3. ntisdell | | #3

    When you are talking 19 watts of power to power a couple 60 watt equiv bulbs at a bulb cost of 12-13$ each, simple surface mount or hanging fixture cost of 20$...

    That puts you at about 50$ for a fixture with two nice Cree 800lumen LED bulbs.

    The cost to run that for 16hrs a day. (lets say you leave it on for convenience).....355 days a year.... is around $8.50 (81kwh) (<--could be easily half that if you put it on a 30$ occ sensor)

    So your total 20yr cost including fixture, bulbs, and utilities... is less than $300

    Likely you could get away with a single 60w or single 75w bulb in that location also....costing even less.
    Skylights/gizmo's hardly seem to make sense these days.

  4. KeithH | | #4

    I can't see the point in a skylight for a hallway. Big spend for a space you don't linger in. The place I like skylights is bathrooms. The inevitable slow leak (all skylights leak eventually right?) is less catastrophic over tile or a shower. The skylight can provide gentle morning light in a room that generally lacks a lot of windows. A vented skylight can even assist with ventilation and dissipating heat in a specific area.

    The gizmo you mentioned seems like a terrible idea if you are building from scratch. Why in the world wouldn't you put in a conventional fixture box?

  5. bdrfab | | #5

    Shoot, I recently purchased a couple of ceiling mount LED fixtures from Lowes for $30. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but i absolutely love the light they give off. Sometimes simpler is better.

  6. PAUL KUENN | | #6

    Not worth any hole in your structure!

    Even a small 6 or 12 volt solar supply would need metal conduit running under the roof and a circuit disconnect to meet National Electric Code. These cheapo solar items are sold to cabin/trailer owners in the wilds far from an inspectors eyes. They also usually don't last long and offer very weak light. Cree LED bulbs are excellent with nice light color and work in any fixture. I've seen it all with 30 years of solar PV & thermal installations.

  7. user-1087436 | | #7

    Really great answers. Thanks to all of you for being so candid. I feel a lot better about this.

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