As you explore your product options, we want to help in any way we can. On this page, we give you answers to frequently asked questions, provide installation instructions for do-it-yourself projects, and explain the basics of tax credits that can save you money. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re likely to find it here.
Since 1991, Solatube International has designed and manufactured a full line of daylighting systems and solar-powered attic fans that have added brightness, beauty and comfort to more than 2 million homes. The company distributes its products throughout the U.S. and Canada using a network of dealers and distributors like Solatube Home Daylight. To learn more, visit www.solatube.com.
Looking for answers to your daylighting questions? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions that you can search below. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact us directly. We’re easy to talk to.
The Solar Electric NightLight is an integrated solar-powered nightlight that offers soft, ambient light that helps homeowners navigate their home from sundown to sun up.
The Solar Electric NightLight has an integrated solar panel that collects and generates energy from the daylight coming down the Solatube system, recharging the two (2) onboard AA NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) rechargeable batteries.The Solar Electric NightLight has a sophisticated Dusk-to-Dawn Sensor that recognizes when there is not enough daylight (waning hours of the day) and automatically turns the NightLight on.The NightLight includes two LED emitters requiring no bulb replacement over the life of the product.
Solatube Daylighting Systems vary in price based on the size, the addition of extension tubes and accessories, and different roof types. Prices include product plus a consultation and installation by a Certified Installation Consultant. State and federal tax credits can lower your cost. The Solatube ISn Daylighting System with Solar Electric NightLight qualifies for a federal tax credit on cost of the product and installation, saving well over $100 on a single unit. Tax credits available in the U.S. only. Call us for details.
Yes. An optional 0-90 degree angle adapter allows the light to run horizontally for short distances.
CAD drawings are available on the Technical Resources section of the Solatube International website.
The light coverage area for Solatube 160 DS (10 in/250 mm Daylighting System) is approximately 200 square feet (19 sq meter), for a Solatube 290 DS (14in/350 mm Daylighting System) it is approximately 300 square feet (28 sq meter). The Solatube SolaMaster Series 750 DS and 330 DS (21 in/530 mmDaylighting System) illuminates areas up to approximately 500 square feet (46 sq meter). For Commercial Building applications, please consult a SolatubeDaylight Consultant as acceptable illuminated areas will greatly vary due to ceiling heights and space uses.
Condensation in buildings is mainly a winter problem particularly where warm, moist air is generated in areas of occupancy and then penetrates to the colder parts of the building. This can result from a number of things in both residential and commercial buildings including cooking, bathing, washing dishes and/or clothes, heating, humidifying, etc. Condensation may be more acute in buildings with inadequate ventilation.
In relation to Solatube Daylighting Systems, the condensation occurs when warm moist air enters into the tubing. Most likely, if there is condensation occurring in the Solatube Daylighting System, there is probably condensation around other parts of the building such as on windows, doors and skylights.
Because there are so many variable factors that may contribute to condensation in a home, Solatube International, like most window and skylight companies, does not cover condensation under the manufacturer’s warranty.
Recognizing that condensation cannot be eliminated, Solatube International has made design changes to its Daylighting Systems over the years to help address this subject. Your local Solatube specialty dealer is best suited to determine if these improvements or other modifications will help minimize condensation in your Solatube Daylighting System. Please be aware that because condensation is not covered under warranty, there may be a charge for the service call and/or additional parts. Your Solatube specialty dealer may suggest adding additional components that have been developed to minimize condensation such as a Dome Upgrade Kit, Flashing Insulator, Climate Control Lens or Severe Climate Glazing.
The Solatube Daylighting System is designed to be a sealed unit. All assemblies (dome, flashing, tubing, diffuser) have seals to stop bug and dirt infiltration. The maintenance free design and shape of the dome and flashing eliminates debris build-up. Unlike traditional skylights, there is no open drywall shaft that requires cleaning and re-painting.
We offer a suite of Effect Lenses to adjust the light to soften or warm the light color. For those who prefer less light, we offer the Softening Effect Lens that creates a subtle, softer natural lighting effect. The optional Solatube Daylight Dimmer can also be installed to allow control of the light output.
The Warm/Warm Softening Effect Lens enhances natural daylight by warming the light creating a color comparable to incandescent bulbs. Never use standard window tinting or any flammable material to block the incoming light. This is an extreme fire hazard.
For the SolaMaster Series we offer a secondary diffuser that fits under the dome to soften the light if necessary.
With this information in mind, the following subjects can be addressed:
There are a few factors to consider when determining if a Solatube Daylighting System will have an effect on plant growth in conjunction with the above information. The first factor would be how much UV, if any, the particular plant will need for proper growth. Second, the size of the product you are using may impact how much light the plant will be able to obtain. It is also important to point out that the Solatube Daylighting System removes a majority of the infrared wavelengths, which only provide heat to the plants. This substantially reduces any heat related stress problems that may occur with indoor plants.
Typically plant growth occurs between 400 and 1000 nanometers. Based on this data, it would be safe to say that in general a Solatube Daylighting System will have a positive effect on plant growth depending on that particular plants UV requirements.
Solar Heat Gain
With the infrared blocking capabilities of the Spectralight Infinity tubing, removing greater than 50% of the heat from the infrared wavelengths (>900 nanometer’s) of the sun with every reflection on the tube surface, the Solar Heat Gain of Solatube products is greatly reduced, which in turn will reduce the air conditioning load requirement for the space being daylit. These technologies allow Solatube Daylighting Systems to provide the highest light output performance with minimal thermal impact.
UV Effect on Skin and Vitamin D
The different UV wavelengths effect skin in the following ways:
Concerning Vitamin D it is synthesized in the skin when UV rays react with a compound within skin between the 270-300 nanometers wavelengths, with peak synthesis between 295-297 nanometers. Based on this information the Solatube Daylighting Systems do not transfer the required UV for Vitamin D synthesis as it will block all of the UVB and UVC rays, which fall between the 100-315 nanometer range.
Note: The UV information in this article is specific to Solatube Daylighting Systems – other TDD products may not provide the same performance standards.
If you have a unit that was installed between 2000 & 2007, to remove the diffuser simply pry down one edge of the white trim ring using something flat such as a butter knife. Continue to work your way around the ring until you have a 1/4″ (7mm) or so gap all the way around. Then simply grab onto the edges and pull straight down. The diffuser lens can be cleaned with soap and water. To re- install the diffuser position the 4 zip style ties into the 4 holes on the ceiling ring and push up until the diffuser is flush with the ceiling.
If you have a unit that was installed between 2007 & 2010, simply pull the diffuser down.
If you have a diffuser that was purchased after September 2010, you’ll need to twist off the diffuser counter-clockwise.
There are currently two options for ceiling diffuser lenses. Both are dual glazed and designed to effectively diffuse the natural sunlight throughout the room.
Vusion™ Diffuser: For outstanding light diffusion that artfully blends to the ceiling plane, select the Vusion diffuser. The fresh design harmonizes with most décor, yet provides the radiance of natural light.
OptiView® Diffuser: Allows a view of the sky through a series of high-tech radial lenses. This high-tech lens is highly effective at diffusing light and minimizing glare. The OptiView diffuser not only looks great but also adds some additional features to the Solatube skylights that no other product can match. This revolutionary diffuser lens bends the light exiting our Spectralight® Infinity optical tubing upward approximately 85 degrees which provides much better light dispersion. The other wonderful feature is that when you look up through the lens you see miniature views of the sun, moon and sky.
Also available is a softening lens. This option is installed at the diffuser level and diffuses the light, delivering a softer light. It is primarily used in very sunny markets where occasionally customers feel their Solatube Daylighting Systems are too bright. We recommend waiting two weeks after installing a new Solatube Daylighting System to adjust to the new light.
For further assistance and questions about pricing please visit our dealer locator page to find an expert that can help to make sure all your product and applications are addressed.
The Solatube Daylighting System is designed with a patented fastening and telescoping tube system that virtually eliminates the need to enter the attic. Additionally, many components are pre-assembled at the factory for minimum assembly time.
The Solar Star does not have an on/off switch but the optional Solar Star Thermal Switch can be added that will turn off the Solar Star when the temperature in the attic is below 65 F (18°C) and will turn on the Solar Star when the temperature in the attic is greater than 85°F (29°C).
The Solatube Daylighting System, for example, features several patented enhancement devices, which work in concert to capture more light from all angles and reflect it down the tube for higher light output during early morning, late afternoon and in the winter months when the sun is low on the horizon.
The Solatube Daylighting System transfers the maximum amount of ambient light into a room with minimal light loss, allowing it to provide great performance even on cloudy or rainy days. In fact, it captures ambient light so well, on a full-moon night, you can actually see a nice glow.
The 750 DS and 330 DS SolaMaster series for commercial applications have 4″, 8″ and 11″ self flashing options available for flat or low pitched roofs. Another option is to use thecurb cap option (curb by others). Dimensions of the curb cap can be located under the Technical Resources section of the Solatube website – simply open a CAD drawing of aSolaMaster daylighting system which is using the cap option.
For more information on our warranty please feel free to visit the warranty page of our website.
One: You don’t want to trip down the steps, bang your head, or stub your toes in the dark.
That is why a Smart Night Light is a clever add-on to your Daylight System.
Two: You don’t want to turn the lights on during the day (or night). Why spend unnecessary money on electric bills?
The sun shines almost the whole year in Florida!
Three: You love natural daylight and want to show it.
Don’t move out of your home; bring Daylight into your rooms, make them feel more spacious, and highlight your decor.
Four: You are sick of living in the dark.
Daylight has many benefits, from increasing productivity and mood to better visual health.
Five: You want a happier home.
Sunlight without the heat or the damaging UV rays.
Solatube Daylighting makes every season beautiful. Now it makes tax season the best of all. Our newest Solatube System, with integrated solar-powered NightLight, harnesses the sun’s energy during the day to power a soft-glow, solar-electric nightlight. Best of all, it qualifies for a federal tax credit on purchase and installation.
Federal tax credits can help you save a bundle when you purchase a Solatube Solar-Operable Skylight, Solatube Daylighting System or Solar Star® Fan. The Solar-Operable Skylight, the 160 or 290 Daylighting Systems (when combined with a Solar-Electric Nightlight or Solar-Powered Daylight Dimmer), and Solar Star Fan qualify for a federal tax credit because of integrated solar-electric technologies. Manufacturer’s Certification documents must be submitted with your tax filing to claim the credit.
Which Solatube Daylighting Systems qualify for the federal income tax credit?
The Solatube 160 ISn and Solatube 290 ISn include an in-tube solar-powered NightLight, qualifying them for a federal income tax credit on purchase and installation.
How is a tax credit better than an income tax deduction?
Unlike a tax deduction, which reduces your taxable income, a tax credit, on the other hand, is subtracted from the total amount of taxes you owe. The tax credit can also be added to a refund, if one is due to you. This makes tax credits extremely desirable.
Is anything excluded from the tax credit?
Decorative Fixtures are included, as they're an essential part of the system. Add-ons, such as the Ventilation Kit and Light Kit are excluded.
What do I need in order to claim the tax credit?
You will need your receipt for purchase and installation, a manufacturer’s certification statement, and IRS Form 5695. Please consult your tax adviser if you have additional questions.
What is the Emergency Stabilization Act of 2009?
On Oct. 3, 2008, George W. Bush signed the Emergency Stabilization Act of 2009, which extended the credits available for solar-powered energy systems and expanded the qualifying product requirements. This allows for a tax credit on the purchase and installation of residential photovoltaic equipment, solar water heating, and fuel cell property. Solar Star products fall under the photovoltaic category.
What Solar Star products are eligible for the federal tax credit?
The solar panel portion of all Solar Star Fans, both roof, and interior mount models qualify for the category “solar energy systems: photovoltaic systems” as defined below:
“Property that uses solar energy to generate electricity for the residence and must meet applicable fire and electrical code requirements.”
There are no specific technical requirements for photovoltaic systems. But all installed Solar Star Fans must meet applicable fire and electrical code requirements to qualify.
What are the tax incentives for Solar Star Fans?
Homeowners are eligible for tax credits for qualified photovoltaic systems purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2022*.
For solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, the allowable tax credit is available for the qualified PV system expenditures, including both product and installation costs. For solar-powered fans, both the solar panel portion of the product and the labor costs associated with the installation can qualify for the tax credit.
Is there a cap on the tax credit?
There is no credit cap for residential photovoltaic systems placed into service after December 31, 2008 and before December 31, 2022.
Do Solar Star products installed in my second home or rental property qualify?
Existing homes and new construction qualify. Both primary and secondary homes qualify. Rentals do not qualify.
Are the Solar Star DIY kits eligible?
Yes, Solar Star Fan DIY Kits – both roof and interior mount kits – are eligible as long as they meet the qualifying criteria and all applicable fire and electrical code requirements.
Are Solar Star products eligible even though they aren’t ENERGY STAR® rated?
An ENERGY STAR rating is not required for the photovoltaic system tax credit eligibility program.
What is the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit?
A tax deduction is subtracted from income before total tax liability is computed. On the other hand, a tax credit is subtracted directly from the total tax liability.
What does the homeowner need to claim the tax credit?
To qualify, tax payers should retain information that includes:
Where do homeowners go for the IRS form?
Click here for IRS Form 5695, which is available on the IRS.gov website.
Are there local incentives for my county and/or city?
Many local utilities provide financial incentives for energy-efficient products. To find out if rebates or incentives are available in your area, visit the ENERGY STAR rebate finder at www.energystar.gov. For additional information, please visit your state energy office website for specific state tax information or go to http://www.dsireusa.org/ to view the database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.
Does a product with an ENERGY STAR rating automatically qualify for federal tax credits?
Prior to December 31, 2013, all products with the ENERGY STAR label were eligible for federal tax credits because of their ability to operate efficiently and lower energy bills. After this date, there may be some ENERGY STAR rated products that do not qualify for federal tax credits. To find out for sure, it’s recommended you visit www.irs.gov or consult a tax professional for advice.
*Solatube International makes no warranty as to the qualification of the products for federal tax credits if there are changes in requirements or applicable law after such date. Solatube International, Inc. is not a tax advisor. Taxpayers claiming a tax credit should consult a tax professional with any questions. Solatube International is not responsible or liable for the taxpayer’s ability to receive tax credits. This document is not intended to constitute legal or tax advice. More comprehensive information will be made available by the IRS. The user maintains the full and complete responsibility to comply with all codes, laws and regulations applicable to the safe and proper use, handling and installation of the product and should consult with a professional for all construction- and design-related questions. The information contained herein is believed to be accurate as of the time of preparation. However, Solatube International makes no warranty as to the accuracy of this information.