Solar Tube Skylights – Sunshine for Small Spaces

Solar tube skylights, also known as light pipes and tubular skylights channel the light from a small skylight, down through a high reflectance duct, to a ceiling mounted diffusing lens.

Solar tube skylights are advantageous in deep roof construction or when the area to be lighted is too small for a standard sized skylight.

Typical installations include bathrooms and closets, but multiple tubes can be installed in larger rooms for a dramatic effect.

The diffusing lens resembles a typical ceiling mounted glass fixture. Most diffusers are round, but a transition box can used to convert the round tubing to a square diffuser for suspended ceilings.

Solar Skylight Cost

Factors that determine the cost of a solar tube installation are the length and diameter of the tube, whether you install it yourself or hire a professional, and the composition of your roof. If your roof is tile or metal expect to pay 15 – 20% more for installation.

You can purchase a complete 14″ diameter solar tube DIY kit for around $300. Professional installation will run you half again as much, or $150. If you’re purchasing multiple units don’t forget to ask for a discount.

Are Solar Tube Skylights a DIY Project?

The installation seems to be relatively straight forward; cut a hole in the roof for the skylight, another in the ceiling of the room below for the diffuser, and connect the two with the reflective duct. But this is not a project for novices; especially if your home has a metal or tiled roof.

Will A Solar Skylight Reduce My Electric Bill?

Yes, but the savings will be minimal. However, installing a solar tube in a highly trafficked room like the bathroom will save you more money than one installed in a closet.

Will The Federal Government Help Me Pay For My Solar Tube Skylight?

You have until December 31, 2010 to collect a 30% tax credit, excluding labor, up to $1,500 for eligible skylights. Also, check with your State Department of Energy for additional rebates or sales tax credits.