In Minimalism, Money

Solar Light Bulbs: A frugal 55-watt light bulb?

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The cheap, solar-powered bulbs are actually just clear plastic soda bottles filled with a mixture of purified water and chlorine or bleach which is commonly used in household cleaning products.

Each bottle is then inserted halfway into a hole made on the roof of a house, and sealant is applied to prevent leaks and the end result gives the impression of a small, plastic chimney.

The bulb gives off light equivalent to a 55-watt electric lamp as the water inside the bottle refracts sunlight and other exterior light.


Impractical for Canada (snow? ice? polar bears?), but an interesting idea for a cheap lightbulb during the day in such homes.

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  1. MelD

    Note to self: should research before commenting!

    The link is

  2. MelD

    I saw this a couple of years ago and thought it was brilliant.

    Also the idea developed by some Swiss students to use PET bottles to disinfect water: it is just laid in the sun for a certain time and something like 90% or more of the germs are destroyed by sunlight. I think they now found that it’s even better if part of the bottle is painted black. Must find out a good link for it, sorry. I just think using a waste product usefully is so clever…

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      THANK YOU! What a great link and idea.

  3. MattNY

    Nice idea, at least temporarily. After a while the UV in the sunlight degrades the plastic, and you end up with water and bleach bombs falling all over your stuff.

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Still it’s a cheap way for poorer countries.

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