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In a word, awesome. Advances in solar and LED technology have brought solar garden lights to a whole new level in our generation.
In most cases, you can even set these up at home on your own. No need for a professional electrician, buried wires, and other trappings of pre-solar technology.
We have made a list of the top 10 reasons — and ways — to go solar in your garden. Plus a list of commonly asked questions on solar lighting, to give you the confidence to make the switch into the garden lighting of the 21st century.
So, how do they work?
Solar-powered lights have a series of photovoltaic cells that make up the solar panel. This panel collects energy from sunlight and converts it into usable power which generates light.
On average, a fully charged solar light, that has been charging for eight hours in sunlight will run for about 15 hours.
This means that the solar cells collect energy all day, charging the batteries and then use that energy to power the lights. The average solar battery lifespan is two years before they have to be replaced.
Sunlight hits the solar panels of the garden lights. This generates power that is stored in the solar light batteries. Then the lights illuminate during the nighttime hours.
Top 9 Reasons to Go Solar
1. They are low maintenance
The primary maintenance for solar lights is to replace the rechargeable battery approximately every two years.
You will notice after time that the lighting time is diminishing and that the lights are dimmer overall. These are the signs that your battery has come to the end of its tour of duty and will need replacement.
Beyond that, once you install them you will not have to do much to maintain them, beyond an occasional cleaning to keep the cells free of dirt and dust.
Doing this will keep them functioning. It will allow the sunlight to hit the solar cells directly without the interference of a layer of grime.
2. They are environmentally friendly
Solar lights use the sun’s naturally available ultraviolet light to create energy that will power the lights that you choose for your path or garden. This energy is sustainable and renewable, and better for our planet than electrical energy sources.
3. They work in most weather
There is a myth that solar panels don’t work well when it’s cloudy. Truth be told, even on cloudy days your solar lights will function at up to 25% compared to sunny days.
They will work in cloudy weather, just not as effectively. If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, you may need to change the battery once a year.
Of course, plan to place your lights in the most direct sunlight to improve performance. Photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power, though they are most effective in direct sunlight.
And not only that, solar panels will work even when the light is reflected or partially blocked by clouds. Rain actually helps to keep your panels operating efficiently by washing away dust and dirt.
You may wonder if solar panels work with moonlight The answer is yes, but with limited capacity. This is because the moon does not generate light, it simply reflects light from the sun.
4. They go on automatically
Most solar lights have an automatic function. They turn themselves on a night, so you can always utilize their light for both practicality and beauty. There is no need for you to make your way up a dark path to get to a light switch when you come home after dark.
5. They are budget-friendly
Lumen solar path lights, garage lights, and deck lamps don’t require much of an investment. In fact, they usually cost about the same as a standard outdoor light – most of which are well under $50. So there is a little upfront cost.
Since solar lights are so simple to install, you won’t need to don’t hire a professional electrician to install them.
The free power of the sun is another budget plus. The gift that keeps on giving, sunrise through sunset.
6. They are easy to install
Solar lights are super easy to install. In most cases, it’s a matter of planting them in the earth and setting the switch for automatic lighting in the darkness.
You may need to mount the light, depending on placement and height, but this definitely falls in the category of normal homeowner do-it-yourselfing.
The basics are as follows:
- Install foundation stakes.
- Push or hammer the foundation stakes for the lights into the ground.
- Attach light posts.
- Position remote solar panels.
7. No Wires
Solar lights are self-contained lighting units. This means no ugly or dangerous wires to contend with, and no worries about wires becoming dangerous through weather damage.
This leads us to another perk, no wires means that it is ever so easy to move and rearrange solar garden lights.
8. Easy to move and rearrange
If you are like me, and love rearranging, you will enjoy the ease of movement of solar lights, due to the lack of wiring. So get creative and try different types of placement and arrangement.
9. There are many beautiful and varied types of solar garden lights
There are so many different solar lighting options that you can incorporate into your landscaping. Some are decorative and beautiful, while others are functional, and shine the light, as it were, on the beauty of your yard and landscaping.
Some examples of solar light options are pathway lights, which light up the path to the house or through the garden. Lanterns add light as well as beauty and style, as you can add colors or personal touches in the perfect places to enhance a party or barbecue with mood lighting.
Security lights are mounted on walls and garages for safety, and driveway lights help you see your way inside the garage in the dark.
Lastly, garden spotlights can add a romantic ambiance, or dramatically showcase a particularly lovely element of your yard.