One of the easiest and most economical ways to enhance the look of your home’s curb appeal is to invest in outdoor solar lighting. Solar outdoor lights can make your home safer as well as enhance certain outdoor features, and better yet, most are ready to install right out of the box – no wiring required. Because outdoor solar lights require no wiring or power source, they give you the flexibility to place your lights just about anywhere, as long as there is direct sunlight for charging during the day and complete darkness for illumination at night.
Simple Answers to Common Questions on Why & How to Choose Solar Lights
When planning your outdoor lighting scenario, keep in mind how you want your solar lights to complement your outdoor decor and purchase them accordingly. Choose from Solar Path Lighting, Solar Accent Lights, Solar Task Lights, and Solar Spot Lights; each is available in a variety of styles and colors.
How Outdoor Solar Lighting Works
Outdoor solar lights require a sufficient amount of sunlight to charge their batteries during the day. Each solar light absorbs the energy from the sunlight and converts it into electrical power, which is stored in the solar light and used at night to power the light on. For complete directions on how to install the solar light that you’ve purchased, go to the product page and download the product manual. In ideal situations where the solar light has received optimal sunlight, a fully charged solar light should remain on for up to 15 hours.
Many outdoor solar lights have a manual on-off switch or a photocell that turns the light on when the sun sets and off when it gets light again. When you install your outdoor solar light and turn the switch to on, you never have to touch the on/off switch again. The on/off switch allows you to charge the battery and then turn the switch to off to store the electrical charge for a special event. If you turn the light off, the battery will continue to charge during the day so it will be ready for you to use when you turn it back on.
For maximum solar charge, the solar panel should face due south and be positioned at an angle so it is perpendicular to the sun. Make sure the solar panel isn’t shaded at any time during the day and make sure the solar light is positioned in an area that’s dark at night.
Most solar outdoor lights contain the following components:
- Solar Panel: Absorbs the energy from the sun and converts it to electrical power. The size, quality and transparency of the cover all play a part in the effectiveness of the solar panel.
- Battery: The solar panels are wired directly to a re-chargeable battery that stores the electricity to be used by the light. NiMH batteries are often used because they are better than standard NiCAD batteries and are more environmentally-friendly.
- Lights: Most solar lights use LED lights, which are smaller, brighter and last longer than incandescent bulbs. Most LED lights will emit a more blue hue in the light, compared to the yellow hue of an incandescent bulb. Most LEDs will run up to 100,000 hours before dying out, while an incandescent bulb usually lasts for about 3,000 hours. Some security solar lights will add halogen bulbs along with the LEDs to increase the light intensity.
- Wiring: If an outdoor solar light has good internal wiring, it will last longer and shine brighter than a light with poor wiring.