How To Light Your Home Off Grid

Categories: Tips & Tricks

Solar Lights

We’ve adopted the practice of using outdoor solar walkway lights around the inside of our home when it begins to get dark outside. Each morning, we put the solar lights outside to soak up all the sunlight they can. When night falls, we bring the lights indoors and place them in eye hooks we’ve screwed into the walls around the home to help light up dark bathrooms and hallways. Solar lights have rechargeable batteries in them which do need to be replaced over time, but so far ours have lasted for almost a year and are still going strong.

Battery Powered Lights

Flashlights are a great portable solution for off-grid lighting, especially for short term or emergency use. If you don’t want to fool with replacing batteries, check out some of the solar flashlights or hand-crank lights available on the market.

Battery powered lanterns are a great option, especially for kids’ rooms, as they don’t run the risk of fire like candles and oil lamps do. You don’t have to worry about strong odors or irritating fumes either. We have one little battery powered lantern for each of our children to use- though we mainly save those for camping trips.

Solar Panels and LED Lights

Our main source of off-grid lighting is a small 1000 kW solar panel kit installed on our home. All we had to do to modified our existing light fixtures to be solar-compatible was replace our old Edison style light bulbs with LEDs. They are a little more expensive up front, but they last forever and use only a tiny fraction of energy. Where our old bulbs pulled 60-75 watts each, the new LEDs light the same amount of space with only 6 watts, making them very easy to support with solar energy.

To make the best use of our limited supply of solar power, I only screwed one to two light bulbs into each ceiling fixture, depending on the size of the room. After all, do we really need four light bulbs in one bedroom, or nine in one bathroom? Not really. We quickly adjusted to the softer lighting, and really don’t miss the excess at all.

We’re also good about keeping lights turned off during the daytime or when somebody isn’t occupying a room. When your power is limited you become very conscious of not being wasteful.

Outdoor Security Lighting

When we switched to off-grid lighting, we still wanted the security of outdoor motion sensor lights at the corners of our home and at the entrances. Our local hardware store had some fairly inexpensive solar motion lights that served the purpose and were quick and easy to install. They aren’t the brightest lights ever, but they shine enough that we would be able to see if somebody was outside, and hopefully would act as a deterrent. 

Have a Backup For Your Backup

To be as prepared as possible, we keep all of the above mentioned items on hand for our off-grid lighting needs:

Solar powered LED lights in the ceiling fixtures are used as the main lighting source throughout our house, only at night or as necessary.

Solar powered outdoor path lights are brought indoors at night and used in the place of nightlights.

Oil lanterns and non-toxic candles serve as backups to our solar lights during extended cloudy days when solar charging is weak.

Battery powered flashlights and lanterns are mainly used when we need to head outdoors at night, or for camping.

Solar motion-sensor lights are used for security around the perimeter of the home.

Something else you might consider are these low-budget EMP Proof Solar Lightbulbs.

I’d love to hear how you plan on lighting your home if the power goes out!

by Kendra Lynne / via ThePrepperProject

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