Solar Power – Small Scale

Spring arrived bang on time and some of you I am sure can imagine my sheer mental relief at the rising temperatures and actual sunlight. I have dispensed with some of my indoor knitted layers and my hot water bottle on all but the coldest evenings, and fresh air is circulating with gay abandon as I fling open my windows with great excitement some mornings. I am in heaven. And whilst this winter has not been as tough as last year physically, it seems to have been tougher mentally. I have now endured my third winter in my current abode. Things have settled into a routine which can become stifling and frustrating.

Not so long ago (and before the 1st April price rise came into effect) I batched up a lot of homemade candles ready for when the nights start drawing in. Yes, it might seem a bit ahead of schedule, but that was the right time to use gas unnecessarily, not post April and certainly not post October when prices are likely to rise again.

Even so I have been thinking of other ways to produce light that doesn’t involve candles which, apart from the gas usage, incur blackened walls and (I hope not) blackened lungs in the process. And I hit upon the idea of solar garden lights. I’d been thinking about it for a while and decided on a warm, sunny first day of spring to walk to the next town where my nearest B&M store is located. Don’t hate on me, when budgets are pushed you have to go somewhere.

I picked up a 120 light / 9.5m long string of LED solar lights which now adorn one wall in my front room, the solar panel staked into one of the plant pots on my window sill. And my god it actually works.

Of course, it is sun dependant, so it isn’t going to be as effective on dull days or in winter, but if this means free lighting for at least part of the year given I am perfectly positioned for all the sunshine, this has to be a winner. The light string cost me £8. I don’t know how long it will take me to recoup that vs not making candles or not using actual electric lights, but I think it won’t be too long and provided these lights last. I am tempted to buy a second box of these if I am flush at some point. £8 is quite an outlay for me, but it seems like a worthy expense given how much it could be saving me over ‘perhaps’ years.

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