What’s not to love about solar outdoor lighting? No wires, no electricity and an easy installation make them the ideal choice for your outdoor lighting needs.
Solar lights have improved considerably over the last few years too. Better technology means longer run times and brighter bulbs. And the lovely array of designs and styles mean that you’re sure to find solar lights that suit your needs, wants and budget.
The Main Components of a Solar Light
The three main components of a solar light include the solar panel, the battery and the light.
The solar panel includes a photovoltaic cell inside the light, which converts sunlight into an electrical current.
The solar light’s rechargeable battery stores the electricity which is generates by the cell. NiMH batteries are a better choice over NiCAD batteries, as they stand up better to frequent charge and release cycles and are better for the environment.
The LED light, which is essentially a number of miniature bulbs, boasts about 100,000 hours of runtime. Some solar lights use a combination of LED lights and halogen bulbs.
Solar panels are usually an integral part of the outdoor solar light, although sometimes they are a separate unit. If the solar panel is separate, you’ll need to find a good spot on which to mount it. Solar cells should face due south and be positioned so that they are perpendicular to the sun.
It is also important to position the panel so that the solar cell receives full sun throughout the day.
The solar panel features either a manual switch or a photo resistor which automatically turns the light on and off. If the solar panel includes an automatic photo resistor, make sure that you don’t place it near another light source, such as a street light or porch light, as this could cause the lights to prematurely turn off.
Traditional Solar Accent Lighting
When shopping for traditional landscape solar lights, choose solar lights with wide storage panels and a minimum of two LED bulbs. The light should also have a cover on the bottom so that the light can be reflected and intensified.
Some solar accent lighting uses alternative technology, as they feature halogen bulbs instead of LED bulbs.
Solar flood lights are a good choice for darker areas of the home or for front entrances. Solar flood lights, however, often utilize a large solar panel which has to be mounted in full sun. The large solar panel can be quite unsightly, so finding an inconspicuous place to mount it might prove difficult.
Use your solar landscape and accent lights to decorate and showcase your home and landscape. Use them along a walkway or beside a set of stairs to prevent falls. Use solar flood lights to illuminate a large tree or front porch.
Visit your local home improvement center to see a full selection of solar lights. Just like traditional, wired outdoor lights, solar lights are available in a nice array of materials, styles and designs.