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Solar lanterns are widely used in rural areas and remote locations. Electricity from conventional sources is not available and in some cases , people cannot afford to pay for it. In such places, solar lanterns are used as viable replacement for hazardous kerosene lamps and candles.

Like solar garden lights , a solar lantern consists of  photovoltaic (solar) panel, a  high efficiency lamp, a rechargeable battery and a charge control circuit. When exposed to light during daytime, the solar energy is converted by the solar cells to electrical energy and stored in the batteries. The charge control circuit prevents the batteries from getting overcharged. At night,  the solar lantern will provide light for at least 3-4 hours.

Compared to solar lighting, the components used in solar lanterns are cheaper. For illumination,  high efficiency compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) are used . These CFL lamps usually work for 3 to 4 years. The sealed lead acid gel batteries are designed to work reliably for many charging and discharging cycles. Some lanterns may also offer an option to be charged from mains electricity using an AC adapter. They are best used in apartments and farmhouses.

 Most portable solar lanterns available in India  have a 10Wp solar photovoltaic module,  12V/7AH battery and 7W CFL for illumination. Many manufacturers are based in Karnataka, but few lanterns are available in hardware shops in Mumbai. Retail prices for a single unit are between Rs 3,500 to Rs 5,000 per unit. Detailed price and feature comparison .

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