SolaSkylights

The SolaSkylights Sky Tunnel, like the Velux Sun Tunnel, is available in both rigid and flexible options

Flexible sun tunnel solartube
Flexible solartubes only give a fraction of the daylight compared to rigid systems like Solatube and Solarspot

This system has been around for quite a while but we’ve not had a lot of experience of it.  The rigid system is probably similar to the Velux in terms of price, and since upgrading to 98% reflectivity is probably similar in performance.

Both systems use a sort of ‘squashed’ dome but there’s nothing there to actually catch the light so I don’t see how it can be any better than the Velux flat panel. I think a large percentage of their market is public sector where price seems to conquer quality and performance.

The flexible SolaSkylights Sky Tunnel was also tested by the BRE for Solatube (see the summary) and has the rather dubious honour of being the worst sun pipe ever tested. In fact, bearing in mind that it was tested against the flexible Velux Sun Tunnel and is virtually anatomically identical, its average efficiency of only 1.5% makes the 3.8% for the Velux look impressive.

To put this into perspective, take the 1.5% for the SolaSkylights Sky Tunnel and compare it to the best sun pipe, the Solarspot with 63% efficiency, and you’d need 42 of the flexible units to equal one Solarspot – you’ll see why it’s not on our favourites list.

Solatube Solarspot rigid sun pipes for maximum daylight
Even the difference of a few percent of reflectivity can make a massive differnce to the amount of daylight delivered.

Here’s an interesting, and ironic, fact, the SolaSkylights Sky Tunnel (flexible) system was the first sun tube to be certified by the BBA (the certification of conformity that Solatube make so much about). Apparently SolaSkylights have let their certificate lapse. As it requires a fairly hefty annual inspection fee, I guess they deemed it not to be of any benefit to them. Proof, if you needed it that the BBA certificate has nothing to do with how bright, or otherwise, a sun tube is.

SolaSkylights Sky Tunnel (Flexible) Pros

  • It’s cheap

SolaSkylights Sky Tunnel (Flexible) Cons

  • It’s the worst system ever tested

SolaSkylights Sky Tunnel (Rigid) Pros

  • Cheap to buy
  • Build quality ok

SolaSkylights Sky Tunnel (Rigid) Cons

  • By the time you’ve factored in the fitting cost, the overall value is not so attractive
  • Short tubes on south-facing roofs only