A solar lamp is a light fixture composed of an LED lamp, a photovoltaic solar panel, and a rechargeable battery. Outdoor lamps may have a lamp, solar panel and battery integrated in one unit. Indoor solar lamps, also referred to asshaftless skylights or tubeless skylights, have separately-mounted solar panels and are used for general illumination where centrally generated power is not conveniently or economically available. Solar-powered household lighting may displace light sources such as kerosene lamps, saving money for the user, and reducing fire and pollution hazards.
Solar lamps recharge during the day. Automatic outdoor lamps turn on at dusk and remain illuminated overnight, depending on how much sunlight they receive during the day. Indoor solar lamps may or may not store power.
Solar garden lights are used for decoration, and come in a wide variety of designs. They are sometimes holiday-themed and may come in animal shapes. They are frequently used to mark footpaths or the areas around swimming pools. Some solar lights do not provide as much light as a line-powered lighting system, but they are easily installed and maintained, and provide a cheaper alternative to wired lamps.
Solar street lights provide public lighting without use of an electrical grid; they may have individual panels for each lamp of a system, or may have a large central solar panel and battery bank to power multiple lamps.
To reduce the overall cost of a solar lighting system, energy saving lamps of either the fluorescent or LED lamp type are used, since incandescent bulbs consume several times as much energy for a given quantity of light.