Usin solar lighting outdoors can be a lifesaver when outdoor outlets are not available. But do solar-powered lights really work? How do they measure up to hardwired electric lights? And what if your yard is shady or you live somewhere that rarely sees the sun?
Types of Solar Lights
Solar path lights
These are small solar lights on stakes, which can be pushed into the ground alongside a walkway to softly illuminate the path at night. They are not as bright as electric path lights, so plan to use more (up to twice as many) to light your path with roughly the same glow as electric.
Solar path lights are ideal for illuminating walkways far from exterior outlets, and can provide an enchanting glow along winding garden paths.
The brightest solar lights available are called task lights or spotlights, and the best ones can provide light that’s roughly equivalent to a 40-watt incandescent bulb. That is still not as bright as a typical outdoor spotlight, so you may want to double or triple up in areas where you want bright, direct light.
Motion-sensing solar spotlights can be used near doors and in the driveway. Spotlights can also be placed in the garden, with the beam of light directed at a tree or another landscape feature.
Ambient and decorative solar lights
Decorative solar lights, including colorful blown glass, decorative lanterns and string lights, are not as bright as solar path lights. However, used in multiples or alongside path lights and spotlights, they can provide a warm ambient glow.
Place a few handblown glass solar lights on stakes in your garden beds for soft landscape lighting. Or hang solar string lights, like the charming mason jar lights shown here, over an outdoor dining table for a welcoming touch at your next gathering.
Solar lights are the greener option because they do not run on electricity and therefore do not require
standard electrical power
Solar lights are easily installed and moved to the required location since all the wiring is located on the same pole
Solar lights provide a gentle light since the power is limited and LEDs operate more efficiently off 12VDC power than AC power
Grants and Tax Incentives are still going strong to help lower the cost of solar (see www.dsireusa.org for more information)
Each solar light operates independent from the next (except for certain applications such as signs, billboards, etc.)
Low voltage provided by the solar panels is safe to work with and does have the same hazards as AC lighting
LEDs with directional lighting provide more light where it is needed and less where it is not
Fixture styles are versatile to many different application and architectural requirements
Color of solar light can be too blue with some style of LEDs, which does not compliment the landscape; however, understanding CRI will ensure you are not getting a light that is too blue
Some less expensive units can be flimsy and not lasting as long as commercially designed systems; do research before any purchase
There is no solar power at night so there is a need for a large battery bank to operate the lights; make sure you have the correct autonomy for your area
Every battery in any solar product will eventually need replacing. On average they only last for up to 600 charges so you’ll find that usually within 2 years a replacement is needed. At Banggood.com you can purchase solar lights and also get battery replacement for your solar products.