There probably is no simpler way to bring light to a dark outside area than using solar lights outdoor lighting. These lights are equipped with batteries, charged by the sun all day, to ensure that your selected area is lighted at all times. There is no need to be near a power supply to get sufficient lighting.
The many types of solar lights
Outdoor solar lighting has developed quickly over the last few years. It is not simply the lighted path markers that most of us are used to seeing. Just about any standard outdoor lighting that is powered by our homes electricity supply is now available as a solar alternative.
Motion detecting lights that activate at night can be placed at your home, patio or pool entrances to keep these areas well lit and safe at all times. The solar panels are usually built right on these fixtures and installation is as simple as attaching them to a nearby structure.
If you are looking for a different look in lighting your patio perhaps you may consider the street light type fixtures that are available. These fixtures come in all different styles for all tastes and again the installation could not be simpler.
String lights are a simple way to light your gazebo, pergola or other outdoor structure with an inviting soft glow for enjoying an evening on the patio. These lights may simply be draped along the ceiling of your structure and attached to a solar panel.
There are many specialty options available as well. Stairs are always a tricky navigation at night and solar lights have been developed for building into the risers or treads to keep them lighted. Add to these choices other options like table lights and various standalone lighting ideas and you have the makings of a very uniquely lit patio.
How do solar lights work ?
All solar lights will have a solar cell or photo voltaic attached to them in some way. This is the dark panel, usually with thin metal wires running parallel to each other, that you can see on this type of lighting. This cell converts sunlight directly into electricity.
A battery stores this electricity. As the evening approaches and the sunlight begins to fade the solar cell slowly stops producing electricity. A photo receptor, built into the light senses when it is dark and turns on the light. The bulbs in todays solar lights are LED. These low energy consuming “bulbs” are a big reason that solar lighting can work so efficiently today. The battery powers the LED light at night with the stored electricity.
Sunlight is detected by the photo receptor as morning light approaches. The light is turned off and the charging of the battery by the sun repeats. The size of a solar panel will affect the amount of electricity it can produce. Most people do not want to look at a large unsightly panel. Panels are usually placed in an unobtrusive area of the product and sized to suit its need.
How can we use solar lighting at our homes ?
Perhaps the biggest advantage of solar lighting is that you do not have to attach it to your homes power. This freedom allows this lighting to be used anywhere that receives sun for most of the day. Since we are talking about outside areas, this should be easy to accomplish in most instances.
Lighting the pathways to our home and other outdoor areas is the simplest project to accomplish. Pathway marker lights are built with attached stakes and all that is needed is to push them into the ground.
Some times when using the typical path marker you will inadvertently kick one over and this can be annoying at times. Some solar light makers now produce low profile lighting which can be simply laid down along the path or screwed into a solid surface such as the sidewalk.
At my house I placed motion detecting lights at intervals that light your way to my home entrance by coming on as you approach each light. This works quite well and really lights up the area that is needed as you walk to my home entrance.
You can get a really old time look from a modern appliance by using a solar lamp post. These come in many styles. Installing these posts may or may not be a little more complicated than other solar lighting types. A mechanical attachment to a solid base will surely give you the most trouble free installation. There are options also where one of these posts can be simply used with a planter to keep them in place.
A post cap light can be used on your deck posts or similar item to provide consistent lighting in your entertaining area with stylish good looks. String lights come in different colors and bulb shapes to gather a lighting scheme that pleases you. String lights are usually simply draped overhead on your outdoor gazebo, pergola or other outdoor structure.
There are many standalone solar lighting ideas to help achieve your desired look. Some planters are lit with colored lights. There are lights made to look like candle lanterns. What ever your tastes from modern to old world there is probably solar lighting out there that will catch your eye.
Can I use them anywhere ?
While you cannot use solar lighting anywhere, most places will probably suffice. Your geographic location and site specific variables will affect the light producing ability of your solar lights the most. Most areas of the United States will receive enough sunlight to operate your solar lights effectively.
The amount of sun the solar panel receives during the day will directly affect how long the light stays on each night. In the Winter, when there is less daily sunshine, operating times will be cut shorter overnight.
Ni-Cad rechargeable batteries will last for approximately 2 years. You should be able to replace the batteries in many solar light fixtures. For best operation, be sure to place the solar cell where it will face the sun for the longest amount of time during the day. Try to avoid shaded areas
Any Comment ?
I’m sure many of you have had experience with solar lighting. I would love to hear your suggestions about what works best for you. Please let us hear about it in the comments section below.