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  • Dr. Stern

Solar Pathway Lights that Don't Suck

Updated: May 23, 2023

ubiquitous American household product that's ripe for disruption.

Whether you buy them for a buck apiece at the dollar store or pay 20X more at a garden center, you're getting the same thing. The same crappy plastic ground stake, eggshell-thin housing, and feeble, boring illumination that lasts maybe three hours past sunset. Why hasn't anyone made a solar pathway light with some blood in its veins?

That's just the sort of consumer lament Stern Laboratories was founded to smother in its cradle with a blanket of Science.

We started, as we usually do, with the premise that these lights should be ridiculously over-engineered and practically indestructible. This early prototype may look like a bunch of mismatched parts, but you could use it to beat an army of robot dinosaurs to death and it would still light the way from street to door for generations of your family.

And why should they only provide light? Why can't they also helpfully point the way for your guests?

Or provide a trellis for climbing vines, like this rampant, unkillable morning glory?

Or perhaps even pay tribute to a wretched hive of scum and villainy?

As new designs emerged, so did the idea of creating a platform for weekend DIY creativity.

After all, anyone can screw pipes together. What if we created battery housings, LED lamps, and solar cells that all worked together, and all attached easily to the standard NPT plumbing and electrical supplies you can buy at any hardware store?

The result is PV Punk: the solar light design kit anyone can use to create extraordinary and indestructible solar lights for the home and garden. You'll never lose another path light to the lawnmower. It's the lawnmower's turn to be afraid.

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