Start a new thread

1 to 20 of 28 replies

can you charge up your solar powered lights from inside the house with the panel pressed up against the window to catch the suns rays,  or am i wasting my time doing it this way.

The rays are being diffused but if you consider the amount of sunshine we get in this country yet people have solar panels on roofs??

I dont think you need constant sunshine to run them

Try it-you are only wasting your time-that is free-what have you got to lose?

Yes, you can charge solar lights this way, it doesn't have to be sunlight, you can charge solar lights during the evening when your house lights are on.

This does work through the window, you can buy briefcase-style chargers to trickle-charge a caravan battery to keep it topped up (and keep the alarm going out of season!).

We have solar panels on the roof.  It is light energy they need, not heat energy.  During the cold spells we were still generating energy, even though the sun has no detectable heat energy in it (to a human being, anyway).  The longer the day, the better the generation.  Beginning to hate cloudy days, they don't half play havoc with your generation figures.

I'm a bit of a hippy at heart, there's a quote I remember from one of the American Indian tribes - I think it's at the entrance to one of the American National Parks:


Take only Photographs

Leave only Footprints.


MMP -  liking the quote


The amount of light you will get in through your windows will be much less than you would get outdoors, not only because you only get light from one side, but also because the light intensity will be far less than your eyes suggest, as they adjust to less light by opening your pupils a lot wider.  I have used a light meter to measure the dropoff in light intensity as you move away from a window, and it fell by half for every three inches moved. 

Apologies if this is a bit 'nerdy, but light intensity is measured in units called 'lux'. For example, average indoor lighting ranges from 100 to 1,000 lux, and average outdoor sunlight is about 50,000 lux, i.e. 50 to 500 times stronger. 



Gold1locks-that is very nerdy..butstrangely interesting!

The solar panel thing is a hot topic just now but if it helps the environment it surely  has to be a good thing. 

MMP it's a great quote


I have just been teaching renewable energy to Years 7 and 8. This week they have made group presentations on home insulation, renewables, fossil fuels, how to reduce electricity bills etc., etc.. We finish it next week and the winning group gets Cadbury Cream Eggs!! I know, not very healthy, is it. 

I do agree wholeheartedly about solar energy, and if we have thought seriously about installing it at home. But the small solar devices you can get for charging laptops, phones and solar lighting are only effective if left on for hours in broad daylight. I get around 4 hours of light in the evening from my garden lights. So I just can't see how they can be practical indoors when the light is so much less, and not the same light (sunlight) that the panels are designed to absorb. If someone buys a solar charger with the intention of using it indoors that's BAD for the environment, because  the energy used in manufacturing the device will far outweigh any hoped-for saving. 


I think that's the argument against wind farm technology too Gold1locks, although I think we need to look at alternative methods without doubt. I love windmills- what I hate is electricity pylons-horrible eyesore -but that's a different story altogether!

"can you charge up your solar powered lights from inside the house with the panel pressed up against the window to catch the suns rays, or am i wasting my time doing it this way"

Hi Alan, You don't say what kind of solar lights you want to charge up. I have a set of small lights which you can thread around branches etc. I have them in my glass porch and place the solar panel on the window sill which faces south. Amazingly these lights work very well in winter and summer although it does vary with the strength of the light. I use them as a deterent against unwanted intruders and also for my pleasure. They look pretty and decorative. I also have some threaded through bay trees that have been shaped into large round balls on my patio, they look great all the year round and are sometimes still sparkling at dawn. Good luck, have a go and see if it works.

i have two sets of string like solar bulbs of the dearer type ( tescos ) and a set of the coloured tube like lights,also i have just bought from homebase mail order a solar security light for a new shed i am getting made to measure, i have a bit of advice for anyone investing in solar lighting, always get the ones out of tescos ect, or garden centres or homebase etc,i found the cheap ones from from the likes of poundstreachers etc are false economy and are very flimsy . 


Interesting indeed Goldilocks.  We have just started work to renovate our barn and have decided to go the energy saving route.  We are currently having the roof insulated from the outside as this is more efficient, apparently, than just slapping panels of insulation under the beams.   The sllates will then be put back and a full bank of PV panels fitted to generate up to 10,000 watts a year.  Then we get the holes bashed out for the new windows and the walls will be insulated from the outside to a thickness of 6'/15cms.  Underfloor insuation and heating follows with a heat exchange pump to drive that.

We won't have any energy bills in there apart from logs for a proper fire or log burner and we should have almost no electricity bills in the existing house part.  Just continuing oil for the existing central heating installed 20 years ago.   It's all going to cost more than we paid for the whol building 21 years ago but will be worth it.

Meanwhile, there are applications to surround our very windy village with over 80 monster wind turbines which are so cost ineffective, so intrusive on the environment and eye and so bad for migrating birds of which we have many, some rare, that I wonder just where politicians and finance ministers especially have their heads and hands.


Just come back from walking along the beach at Skegness (don't ask!). Saw over 200 windmills about 2 miles out to sea. Only 60 or so were turning!


Typical!  We have a nest of 13 whoppers on the edge of the village strung along the E411 motorway that runs south to Luxembourg.   When there is no wind at all they'll have half turning and burning grid electricity.    Who do they think they are kidding?

In the old days, this area had loads of windmills for grinding corn and the locals know all about real wind and fake wind.   Every time a new set of turbines goes up they're bigger than the last lot and they're getting closer and closer to habitation and the main party pushing them is Ecolo who are supposed to want to preserve the environment and wildlife habitats.   Far more cost effective to subsidise home insulation for all and reduce energy consumption than give susbidies and unsustainable profits for a few wind energy companies and constructors.

Sorry to upset the general consensus that wind turbines are the work of beelzebub, I rather like them.  There are three large ones I can see taking small boy to school, and we always look out for them  We have another 30 that are going up this side of the motorway, that will allegedly provide 30% of the electricity requirement for Rotherham.  There were lots of objections to them, largely from the villages where the sons and daughters of the 'original' villagers can't afford to live any more, and where some of the old terraces get bought up and bulldozed and another Chav manor gets built.

What would you rather have:

A ) An electricity supply that's not reliable

B) 30 Wind turbines in the middle of nowhere

C) A nuclear power station on your doorstep

I don't want nuclear, but at the moment it provides a significant proportion of our electricity needs.  I have a very old car that gets patched up from bits of dead car, and runs on homebrew biodiesel, made from oil destined for landfill, yet I get accused of having a gas guzzling chelsea tractor by idiots in coal-fired piouses.  My house has as many solar panels as it can accomodate.  I compost most of my compostible stuff.

I have two children, and I'd like to leave the earth in a bit better state than I found it.  Not everyone does, too many are bothered about what they can see from their window as they sip their G&T.



When the wind blows - its power for free.

When the wind doesn't blow, something else needs to step in.  But at least that "something else" doesn't need to be burning fossil fuels all of the time, just some of the time.

The wind turbines in the sea are practically invisible - but they are harnessing one of the greatest resources this island has to offer.

As my teenagers would say - what's not to like !


The ones at Skegness are VERY visible from the beach. This photo shows only a few. There are 160 - I counted them - and all as close as these practically as far as the eye can see from left to right!

And it's not free. the cost of manufacturing and maintaining them. 

And when the wind is too strong you can get this:

And when it's too cold they have to shut them down and heat them using electricity to stop them freezing up.





And a coal fired power station doesn't need to be manufactured or maintained ??

And doesn't occasionally trip over ??

Wind power is not perfect - not many things are.

Check out the plans for Dogger Bank - they will be 10 miles from the coast.  Maybe that will be far enough away .....


Exactly, Chicky! What we need is pragmatism rather than blind ideology. Right now the only positive movement to address the looming power crisis with lights going out is thousands of wind turbines being erected, many  in areas that cannot be good for the environment, such as Skegness. No nuclear power stations for years, coal powered stations about to shut down with no gas power stations to replace them. We will have to import electricity from France and even more gas from our reliable friend, Russia by 2015, electricity prices will rocket, many will be driven into fuel poverty, and then everyone will blame the Government, and it will take 15 - 20 years of rushed investment to put it right. 

Some leading politician said that Politics is about choosing the lesser of two or more evils. For core energy supply we are going to need nuclear sooner or later - we are going to need gas (from fracking- hopefully we can crack carbon capture but we need fracking in any event) and we will use renewables as much as possible as a backup. But unless we get strong government and unpopular decisions forced through, we are in for energy / economic misery over the next decade. 


I actually think we are in total agreement (other than the fact that wind turbines are rubbish) - and I spend my working life trying to improve the situation.  Sometimes it feels like banging head against immovable wall !