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Solar Tube Light – A Complete But Definitive Guide to Install Solar Tube Lights

The rapid adoption of solar energy has led to residential and commercial organizations installing solar appliances. As a result, solar tube lights have emerged as one of the most renowned and sought-after item on the market.

If you are looking for a solar lighting fixture that is attractive and utilizes solar power, then you should know how solar tube light works. Solar tube light is money-saving and offers a lot of benefits to the user.

Solar Tube Light
Solar Tube Lights Installed in a Factory

What Is A Solar Tube Light?

Solar tubes are physical structures used to transmit natural light for illumination purposes. They bring natural light and cost-effective lighting solutions to illuminate dark spaces without electricity. Solar tubes are very small in size, and you can set them up wherever you want.

As a homeowner, all you need is a smart and effective light, and a smart tube does that by minimizing the heat losses. Solar tubes consist of a weather-proof head reflective pipe underneath to carry the sunshine to generate light.

Solar tubes are a modern and cost-effective substitute to old-fashioned skylights, with a super-refined sheet steel tube. You can fix it in your roof membrane so that it can channel the daylight into the home without the need for electricity. In addition, you can install solar tubes in hallways, bathrooms, closets, and laundry areas.

The growth statistics of solar tube lights show that there has been a 200% increase [1] in the adoption of solar tube lights in the past year. Additionally, these solar tube lights come in various designs, sizes, and shapes that enhance the aesthetics of the home as well.

Solar Tube Light
Rays through Solar Tube Lights

How Do The Solar Tubes Work?

The solar tube lighting consists of two tubes, negative/emitter and positive/collector tube. You need to connect both tubes to a housing. When the sunlight hits the emitter tube, it produces light, and then the housing collects the light and uses it as a lighting fixture.

The optical design of the solar tube light is to channel as much as natural light into the house, and they come in 1 to 2ft diameter. The solar tube lighting system has reflective and polished sheet metal and waterproof surfaces that generate energy from the daylight and bring light to a dark home.

The solar tube light is shaped like an impenetrable Perspex dome and appears from above as a spherical window-like opening fitted with a nozzle. It helps to distribute the natural light from the sun proportionately. Using the solar tubes, you will get an uninterrupted natural light source that will reduce your electricity bills.

Most of the solar tube lighting systems offer low-profile and flexible tubing. In addition, most solar tubes include an Ultraviolet rays safety system, which is located in the light reflector or at the origin of sunlight on your roof. This UV light protection system will ensure that the natural light from the sun entering your home won’t cause any health problems or damage the surfaces of your home.

Solar Tube Light
Insulation through Solar Glass Tube

What Are The Advantages Of Using Solar Tube Lights?

In 2001, the Electric Power Institute had in-depth research on the solar tube, and they found out some amazing advantages of it such as:

Provision of Natural Light

If you want to use natural light instead of artificial light to light up your home, solar tubes are the best option. With the solar tube, you will ensure to bring natural light into your home whenever you need it.

Bringing natural light into your home has numerous health benefits as well. For example, natural lights have proven beneficial for both mental and physical well-being, and they provide Vitamin D.

Easy and Quick Installation

Installing solar tube lighting is a simple, quick, and easy process. The solar tubes are subtle and complement the architecture of your home. An experienced worker can install solar tubes in your home in under three hours. 

If you have the guide, then you can install it as well. After installing once, you don’t have to be worried about it for a long time.

The Natural Light Source Is Environmentally Friendly

Solar tubes generate electricity from solar energy and don’t have any dangerous emissions. It is a clean and very environmentally friendly source of energy. If you are using solar tube lighting, your home would be efficient and sustainable.

You will get a weather-resistant dome so that the ultraviolet rays won’t enter the tube. So you won’t just cut the expense on electricity bills and carbon footprint.

Low Cost Of Installation

The initial cost of installing solar tubes in your home might seem very expensive, but it doesn’t require a huge amount of money. Additionally, after one-time spending, you will get money-saving opportunities in the future.

You will save money on monthly electricity bills. Some solar tubes cost you less than $500, and you can even install them without professional help.

No Leakage Problems

The solar tube lighting is made with a water-resistant acrylic dome, so there will be no leakage during snow and rainfall. As a result, you won’t have to bother about water leaking from the ceiling after installing solar tube lighting.

Flexible Design

Flexible Design

You don’t have to alter the architecture of your home while installing solar tubes. Also, if you are looking to bring light into your home with smaller spaces like a bathroom, hallways, pantries, etc., then opt for solar tube lighting.

Solar tubes will reduce the utility cost and also the energy you use. Make sure you choose the right design that fits the requirements of your home.

Free Lighting Option

Are you searching for the best alternative to electric lighting because the electricity bills are going above your head? Then you should consider lighting your home with solar tubes. 

On a bright day, direct sunlight shining on a 10-inch solar tube will produce the same light level as three 100-watt bulbs. It is enough to light up a 200-300 sq. ft. room.

With this, you will save your money by reducing electricity bills. In addition, solar panels make the most out of solar power so that you won’t run out of energy.

Small Size

The solar tubes are smaller than the skylights and bring light into your home. In addition, because of their compact size, solar tubes are easier to install.

You can install solar tube lighting anywhere you want. The solar tube lighting value depends on the size of the tube you are buying. You will get a daily dose of indirect light from the sun with solar-powered systems.

Solar Tube Lights vs Fluorescent Lights

How Much Do Solar Tubes Cost Compare To Skylights?

Solar tubes are energy-efficient and also a cost-effective solution compared to traditional skylights. The installation cost of sun tubes is less than the skylights.

Most solar tubes cost $750 per piece, whereas the average cost of a skylight is $1500 to $2500, depending on the installation complexity and size. You can install them yourself if you have the necessary skills. 

You do not have to rely on electric lighting, as it is not very reliable. Most solar tube kits come with asphalt shingle roofing material, though adapters are readily available, making the installation on metal, wood, or tile roof types straightforward.

Light Collector of Solar Tube Lights

How Do Solar Tubes Work At Night?

The solar tube lighting won’t be able to absorb energy at night because, at night, there is no access to sunlight. But nowadays, new models come with an innovative design that allows you to light your home even when it is dark. In addition, some solar tubes come with a power storing capacity to produce solar electricity light even at night.

They charge up from the natural lighting during the day and bring lights into your home when it is dark. But these models are a little more expensive than the normal solar tubes, but you can’t deny how beneficial they are.

Steps To Install Solar Tubes in Your Home

If you have decided to add a solar tube light fixture to your home without hiring solar installers, you have to know the process first.

To install a solar tube, pick the best part of the ceiling for the lighting system and label it. Next, drill a hole must from the root to the ceiling. The hole must be large enough to accommodate the tube. Before you install solar tube lighting, you must first perform the following steps.

Installation of Solar Tube Lights

Understand the Parts of the Solar Tube

While installing solar tube lighting, you have to be extremely careful. Here you are going to create a hole in the roof. If you miss the key points, you will have to face damages, losses, and future problems.

Before installing, you need to understand how each part works. A solar tube is expensive, so knowing how each part works will keep you away from unnecessary damages.

The solar tube lighting has a dome on the rooftop that captures sunlight and streams it into the pipes. The solar pipe is a long pipe that acts as a continuous mirror, directing light from the dome to the diffuser.

The clear hollow design allows the sun’s light to enter your home. Each model comes with unique features and parts, so make sure to read the user manual before using it.

Get Appropriate Tools

You need to gather all the equipment to help you with the installation process. First, have a strong ladder so that you can climb up safely without risking your life. You can also take professional help.

Take Safety Precautions

Now that you have all the tools and installation strategy, the next step is to take all the safety precautions.

Mark the Roof Location

Location of Solar Tube Lights – Facing South

Here comes the main part of the installation. First, select the proper location for your sun tube. Place the dome in an open place where it gets maximum sunlight. Consider the length and shade of the tube and mark the right spot.

Drill the Hole

After getting the right spot for installing solar tubes, it is time to drill the ceiling. Remember that you will use this hole for installing a diffuser in the future. After that, drill a hole in the roof at the right spot.

Install the Flash

Before placing the dome, you need to prepare the flashing. The flashing will prevent any dust or water from getting into the rube or the ceiling, aiming to sell the home on the hole.

Install the Dome

Now you have created a place for the solar tube roof dome. The domes are slightly tilting, and some tilts are vertical. The tilt of the dome allows the dome to face the run and get the maximum radiation all the time throughout the year.

Put Extension Tubes

Now that both the bottom and top assemblies are in place, you must join them with extension tubes. Remove the cover from the tube’s reflective surface and start assembly. One side of the tubes is wide, and the other is narrow.

Mount as many tubes as required and connect the bottom and top assemblies. Use tapes and screws to adjust the angles in the right way.

Install the Diffuser

Installer doing final fixtures of Solar Tube Lights

You must proceed with extreme caution because this tube system is extremely fragile. So insert lenses, and the clear part of the diffuser has to face downwards. 

Some diffusers need to be tightened with screws. Check the user guide and find out a specific method your solar tube requires.

Test the Light

The final step is to check for defects in your solar tube. Check if all the parts of the solar tube are working properly. Ensure whether the light is bright enough and check if the solar tube needs more natural light.

If you find any defects, then fix them as soon as possible. First, switch off all the electric lights and turn on the light switch of the solar tube to check if the light is bright enough.


A solar tube is one of the popular light fixture options these days. You can install them anywhere you want, such as bathrooms, kitchen, laundry rooms, dining rooms, and others.

It is a better lighting solution than traditional skylights. Solar-powered solutions are the future, and the quicker you adapt, the better it will be for you.

Whether you have flat roofs or conventional roofs, a solar tube is a practical solution for lighting requirements. Additionally, it gets power from natural sunlight, so it is environmentally friendly and saves monthly electricity bills.

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