What Are the Drawbacks to Solar Tube Lighting

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While solar tube lighting (SOL) is a very popular way to light up your yard, there are a few drawbacks that you should know before installing it. These include the fact that it only works at night and can be difficult to install. 

Then there’s also the fact that SOL doesn’t produce much light, so you’ll need to turn on an outside lamp or keep the lights on inside the house when using this kind of lighting. If you’re interested in SOL, here are some things that you should consider before installing it.

How does Solar Tube Lighting work?

VELUX 10" Double Strength Acrylic Rigid Low-Profile Sun Tunnel Tubular Skylight

When you install SOL, you get the benefits of both a solar and traditional lighting system in one package. The main difference between SOL and a traditional tube lighting system is that the former is able to run throughout the entire night. 

SOL works by drawing energy directly for the sun. It turns this energy into 24V DC electricity, so you can use it in places where conventional bulbs can’t be used. It has a lifespan of 20+ years, and it’s durable, weatherproof, and easy to maintain. 

Also Read: How Do Solar Lights Work

How Does Solar Tube Lighting Compare To A Skylight?

Before you make the decision on whether or not to install solar tube lighting, you’ll need to consider the fact that they’re very similar to skylights. Both work to increase light throughout a home or business space while keeping utility bills low. 

Although SOL is a lot easier to install than a traditional skylight, it still has a few downsides. The main one is that you can’t control the amount of light it emits or extend its use throughout the day. 

What Are The Drawbacks To Solar Tube Lighting?

VELUX 10" Double Strength Acrylic Rigid Low-Profile Sun Tunnel Tubular Skylight

1. Not Suitable For Every Home

Though solar tube lighting is becoming quite popular, it might not be suitable for every home. In fact, it’s not feasible to install a solar tube for every home, especially if you’re living in an apartment or small home where there isn’t a clear view of the yard. 

Instead, you’ll want to consider if your yard is large enough to put up a solar tube and if you’re willing to invest in an outdoor power kit to get the maximum amount of light. If you’re going to opt for solar tube lighting, you want to make sure that you pick out the right type of lights. 

2. Limited Design Styles

In some places, SOL lighting is impractical because you can’t design your yard or garden to look good using a solar-powered light. For instance, in the winter months when it’s dark at night, a bright SOL light just won’t give the same effect that a soft candle or a flame lamp would. 

Where you live will also affect how you can or cannot use SOL. For instance, some cities have restrictions on SOVL because of light pollution concerns, meaning that you can’t set up SOVL lights in your front yard. 

3. Only One Source Of Energy

What many people don’t realize about SOL is that it only produces enough power to run a light bulb and isn’t designed to provide an off-the-grid energy source. As such, if the power goes out, you’ll be in the dark. 

If the lights start to fade, you’ll need to check the batteries in the lights. Or you could flip the switch on your light switch and keep everything running. 

4. Uses Lots Of Space During Installation

Sometimes you’ll need quite a bit of space to dedicate to the solar panel. But you’ll also need space to add more plants in your garden without worrying about covering up the solar panel.

For your information, during the winter, your solar tube lights are basically useless. This is because the solar panel needs a lot of light during the winter to charge and operate properly. 

Also Read: How to Install Solar Panels

5. Lack Of Ventilation

Solar tube lighting (SOL) is designed to work effectively in direct sunlight. But they often require intense air currents to work. 

So if the airflow through your house is too restricted, it won’t be possible to run the lights in a way that they can work effectively. That’s why when you purchase solar tube lighting, it’s crucial that you keep in mind that it doesn’t work without sufficient ventilation. 

Otherwise, you may find that you need to keep the lights turned on to maintain the appropriate airflow through your home. 

6. Thermosiphon

This is the main problem with solar tube lighting, and while it’s an unfortunate drawback, it’s one that you can work around if you have the right tools. 

The reason SOL is only effective during the day is because the hot water inside the tube heats up and expands, which then puts tremendous pressure on the solar cell to heat it up more. 

Once the solar cell reaches the same temperature as the surrounding air, it cannot convert that energy into light. This is known as thermal inversion and prevents the light from being generated. 

7. Noisy

One of the biggest drawbacks to solar tube lighting is the fact that it produces a lot of noise. This can be heard by anyone within a half a mile of your home and it also creates a disturbance to the ecosystem around it. 

The noise is basically due to the pressure between the different layers of light shining through the glass of the tube, and you can even hear it when there isn’t anyone around.

You can also hear the fans that are used to keep the light from overheating.

How much does Solar Tube Lighting cost?

First off, the cost of SOL varies greatly depending on the size and amount of time that you want to invest in this type of lighting. If you want to put the light in a much smaller area, like under a large deck, there are a few ways that you can pay less. 

First off, you can place the lighting at the end of the driveway. If you do this, you’ll save some money. 

The second way is to rent the lighting for a week or two, as this will allow you to see how the light behaves during a test run. This way you’ll be able to pick out what works for you before paying for the lights. 


Thanks for sticking with us to the end of our article about the drawbacks of using solar tube lighting. We hope you enjoyed it. As you can now see, installing solar lighting can be nice as long as you are aware of the potential drawbacks. We hope you can now make a much more informed decision about solar tube installations. 

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