A solar lamp also known as solar light or solar lantern, is a lighting system composed of an LED lamp, solar panels, battery, charge controller and there may also be an inverter. The lamp operates on electricity from batteries, charged through the use of solar photovoltaic panel.
Solar-powered household lighting can replace other light sources like candles or kerosene lamps. Solar lamps have a lower operating cost than kerosene lamps because renewable energy from the sun is free, unlike fuel. In addition, solar lamps produce no indoor air pollution unlike kerosene lamps. However, solar lamps generally have a higher initial cost, and are weather dependent.
Solar lamps for use in rural situations often have the capability of providing a supply of electricity for other devices, such as for charging cell phones. American investors have been working towards developing a $10 / unit solar lantern for replacement of kerosene lamps
Solar lamps can be easier for customers to install and maintain as they do not require an electricity cable. Solar lamps can benefit owners with reduced maintenance cost and costs of electricity bills. Solar lamps can also be used in areas where there is no electrical grid or remote areas that lack a reliable electricity supply. There are many stories of people with lung disease, eye deterioration, burns and sometimes even death simply because they do not have a healthy alternative to light at night. Women have felt unsafe walking to the toilet outside after dark. Babies are being delivered by midwives using only a candle, and students cannot study when the sun goes down for lack of light leading to increased illiteracy and perpetual poverty. These are the realities for over 1 billion people around the globe. Lack of lighting equates to continued poverty felt around the world.
Solar energy output is limited by weather and can be less effective if it is cloudy, wet, or winter.
Households switching to solar lamps from kerosene lamps also gain from health risk associated with kerosene emissions. Kerosene often has negative impacts on human lungs
The use of solar energy minimizes the creation pollution indoors, where kerosene have been linked to cases of health issues. However, photovoltaic panels are made out of silicon and other toxic metals including lead that can be difficult to dispose off. The use of solar lights improves education for students who live in households without electricity.