If something claims it's "solar" and doesn't cost much, chances are pretty high that I'm going to buy it. No environmental points are scored this way, I'm afraid, as is convincingly explained in a piece in lowtechmagazine.com.
I bought a couple of lights some time ago, they came with a small solar panel each. This does seem like a slightly more convenient way of getting light in my doggy kitchen than using lots of expensive 12 v wiring from the cabin. But the irony of using solar in northern latitudes - the fact that your lights work best at the same time that you get midnight sun - gets greater the smaller the system. The teeny weeny panels (above) work fine in the middle of summer, when I don't really need any artificial lightning. The two 600 mah cells in each light can easily be replaced by more substantial ones, though.
The workmanship is as sloppy as one might expect. There is no way for the jack to stay plugged unless fastened somehow. I used a rubber band.
I can keep my electric cooler (seen in the background, above) going most days now if I want, as long as the weather is not horribly cloudy the batteries are kept at maximum charge anyway.
Felis, the evil cat, can be seen enjoying some solar power herself in the foreground.