Solar Lights – Buying Guidelines
Solar lights can be a great addition to the house and garden. Advances in technology mean they are now more efficient than ever and can be used for a number of uses and in varied climates. They do however have certain limits that we should take into consideration when using solar lights in any outdoor lighting plan, or indeed indoor lighting plan.
Solar lighting is basically a technology for harnessing power from the sun and transforming it to a low voltage electricity to act as a power source for lights. The earliest designs were quite inefficient and needed long hours of direct sunlight to produce a very low level of lighting that lasted only a few hours. Now we have more efficient solar cells that can take fairly low level light, (even on cloudy days), and produce stronger light that lasts for many hours. When buying garden solar lights bear this in mind, as the cheapest models often use poor quality cells that are not very efficient. The more expensive lights usually provide a stronger light for longer periods of time.
These have a few advantages over standard wired lighting solutions:
They are very easy to install – no complicated wiring, just basically place them where you want.
They are very safe – solar lighting uses low voltage electricity which is very safe.
They are quick to install.
They are relatively inexpensive – but I recommend not buying the cheapest models.
That being said they do have some limitations, even with the increased technology available today. Solar lighting is generally not suited to any sort of security lighting. This is because solar security lights are not a very bright light source and the climatic conditions may mean that the lighting supply may fail when it is required. This is not a problem for ornamental lighting but for security purposes, wired lighting is usually the preferred method. Also solar flood lights do not give the same brightness available with traditional flood lights which can also be a security issue.
Outdoor Garden Solar Lights.
There is a huge range of outdoor solar lights available for the garden today. Until recently they usually consisted of little plastic stick in the ground type lights. Now the designs have moved on to compete with any traditional lights you might purchase. Solar spotlights are popular and come in a range of materials and prices, from plastic to stainless steel and everything in between. Solar house lights, post lights, floodlights, even solar shed lights, all now available in very beautiful designs and materials.
Indoor Solar Lights.
With today’s technology it is even possible to buy indoor solar lights. The main difference with indoor solar lighting is that it must be wired to a solar panel or small solar cell placed outside, where it can receive sunlight. With most outdoor solar lights the cell is built into the light fixture itself and so there is no wiring required. Indoor solar lights are best used in buildings, such as garden sheds or garages, away from the main house. Then it is possible to have lighting without the need to run cables from the main home.
A Green Solution.
Solar energy is a totally green energy, with no harmful by-products. It is also sustainable in most climates and the efficiency of the light cells is improving with advances in technology. The only maintenance required is to keep the light cells clean and if good quality materials are used in the manufacturing process these lights should last for many years. When buying solar lights always look for good quality construction of the lighting unit and choose quality materials that will not perish with exposure to the elements. Spending a little extra can mean having solar lights that last for many years.
As more people become aware of their ease of use and environmental benefits, solar lights will continue to grow in popularity and will be suitable for even more applications.