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A solar lamp is a portable light fixture composed of an LED lamp, a photovoltaic solar panel, and a rechargeable battery. Outdoor lamps may have lamp, solar panel and battery integrated in one unit. Indoor solar lamps with separately-mounted solar panels 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.
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.
In rural India, solar lamps, commonly called solar lanterns, using either LEDs or CFLs, are being used to replace kerosene lamps.
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