solar energy

Outdoor Solar Lights

Tips, benefits, how to install and how to use outdoor solar lights

outdoor solar lights
Several years ago outdoor solar lighting was in its infancy and it was a struggle to find good quality solar lighting. Today's outdoor solar lights are much more than the trinket solar lighting you used to be able to find. Today you can find solar lighting at almost any garden shop, home improvement store or supermarket.

Solar lighting is becoming increasingly popular due to their higher energy efficiency rates as well as their ease of installation. As solar technology becomes more popular and more widely available, it's decreasing in cost and has become more affordable. There are new, innovative solar products emerging constantly.

Solar powered lights are now available in numerous designs and endless applications are possible for home users as well as professionals.

Solar lighting can be used in many commercial and residential applications from enhancing the look of your garden at night, to parking lot lighting, airport runway lighting, flag pole and street lighting to name just a few applications.

Solar outdoor lights are definitely an interesting option. Not only will you save energy and reduce carbon output you will also save money.

Outdoor Solar Lights- What You Need To Know


Here are just a few applications where solar lighting can provide a reasonable alternative to other forms of outdoor lighting:

  • Yards and gardens
  • Swimming pools and decks
  • Security Lighting
  • Civilian and military runways
  • Camping and RV lighting
  • Street lighting
  • Traffic Signals
  • Parking lot lighting
  • Bus Stop and transportation shelter lighting
  • Advertising Billboards
  • Monument and flagpole lighting
  • Cemetery lighting

There are several benefits to using solar powered lighting outdoors. For starters the source of the energy is free (sunlight). Most solar lighting is easy and fast to install excluding large commercial lighting projects. There are no wires and no plugs to connect into sockets, they are safe and very inexpensive to purchase and install.

How does outdoor solar lighting work?

Solar lights use a solar panel that charges batteries during the day when the sun is shining. The solar panel then charges the battery (batteries). At night, a photo-cell sensor is used to turn on the light.

For good lighting performance, you must make sure that the built-in or stand-alone solar panel is exposed to sunlight all day long (as long as possible; the time will vary by location and season). It is the only way for the battery to properly recharge in order to provide illumination all night long.

How do solar garden lights work?

Solar lighting systems use solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity. They can dramatically increase the aesthetics and mood of your garden, patio, yard landscaping or walkway and they only take a minute to install.

Most solar powered lighting uses LED light. LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are quite bright, draw very little current and last a very long time, typically up to 50,000 hours. Compared to regular light bulbs they use very little energy. A light bulb converts about 5% of the absorbed energy to light and a LED about 83%.

There is a battery to store the power, usually the battery is a Lithium Ion or more commonly nowadays a Nickel Metal Hydride battery. These batteries last about 2 years before they have to be replaced.

Solar Light Batteries are the main cause of failure in solar garden lights. When you purchase solar garden lights the rechargeable batteries are always included with the fixture. It is completely normal to see your solar light performance decline after a year or two. When you notice that the lighting time is significantly diminishing, it's probably time to replace the solar garden light batteries. Rechargeable Batteries are the main cause of failure in solar garden lights. Another reason for reduced lighting time can be that the solar light batteries are not charging properly. Remember that for optimum charging performance the solar panel needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. Dust and other accumulated residues can dramatically affect the charging process. They form a layer on the solar panel and block the sunlight.

In addition to the battery there is a small solar panel on top of the light fixture to generate power during the daylight hours. This panel collects the suns energy to keep the battery charged, so the light will function at night. These lights are very safe and quite easy to install.

Installing solar powered yard lighting

  1. Purchase enough solar powered yard lights to line a walkway, yard perimeter, pool deck area or pond.
  2. Remove the solar lights from their packaging and place them upright in an area of bright sunlight. Choose a day when the weather indicates clear skies with no threat of rain.
  3. Charge the light for 12 to 14 hours (over two days) to ensure the batteries are ready for installation. Decide on the layout and measure the area. Space the lights evenly for uniformity.
  4. Choose a location that gets several hours of full sunlight daily. Check the soil and make sure that it is loose enough to push the light bases into the ground.
  5. Dampen soil that is very dry or hard several times and wait a few hours before installing the lights to avoid breaking or damaging the light's support post. Use a small spade to loosen soil that contains a lot of clay.
  6. Press the solar light into the ground in an upright position to optimize the amount of sunlight the solar panel can absorb.
  7. For pools, decks or posts use hanging solar powered lights. Secure the hangers to prevent the lights from being blown down in storms or high winds. You can also use floating solar lights for pools.

It is easy to brighten up your landscape with solar outdoor lighting. The best part is that they are safe around children and pets and they are so simple to install. Check out your local home improvement store for solar lighting kits. Also have a look at the more detaile descriptions of different solar outdoor lights below.


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