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Solar Outside Lights
Solar powered outside lights are Eco-friendly ways to illuminate driveways, tress, garden features, patios, and decks. One of the reasons most people choose solar outside lights is because they don’t impact on energy bills. The best solar garden lights can provide continual lighting from dusk till dawn for only the cost of the units.
Installing solar-powered lighting can also help increase safety and security in your home. Having the perimeter of your home illuminated can help deter unwanted opportunists loitering on your property. Solar lighting with motion sensors can also increase brightness when visitors approach your property. This is not only welcoming for your visitors; it also prevents anyone tripping on objects in the dark.
One of the benefits of installing high-quality solar garden lights is that they don’t require any wiring or any kind of maintenance.
What Are Solar Garden Lights?
There are a number of different types of outdoor solar garden lights to compliment your garden landscape or house design.
Some of the ways to use outside solar garden lights include tree up-lights, patio illumination, security lights with motion sensors, pathway lights, driveway lights and garden lighting.
Garden solar lights can be placed at an angle in pathways, mounted on gutters, attached to facades, placed above doors, or used to create multi-colored lighting effects.
How Do Solar Lights Work?
A process called the photovoltaic (PV) effect is the reason why solar lights work. The dark solar panels contain crystalline silicon cells and special chemicals. As sunlight penetrates the dark panel, a chemical reaction takes place to create an electrical current. This is then used to charge batteries or power equipment.
There are three main parts that allow solar lights to work.
- A solar charging panel to capture and convert the sun’s rays into power
- Good quality rechargeable lithium batteries to store solar power and provide light whenever it is needed
- LED bulbs to provide bright light using minimal amount of energy
During the day, the PV panel absorbs sunlight and converts this into energy. The electricity charges the batteries in the solar light. When the sunlight fades in the evening, the charging process stops and the solar lights automatically turn on. This process repeats itself day in, day out.
Another important factor when it comes to solar lighting is the charging efficiency. This is the amount of power that the solar panels can generate from sunlight. Usually, the best solar lights or solar charging panels have an efficiency of between 17 and 24%.
Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?
Solar lights continue to charge on cloudy days because all they need is light to operate. Of course, on cloudy or overcast days, solar panels don’t work as efficiently as on sunny days. However, the best types of solar outside lights should still be able to convert around 10% of the sun’s energy. This means that the lights will still turn on in the evening time, but they may not shine as long.
In fact, in some circumstances, solar panels may work more efficiently on cloudy days than on very hot sunny days. The reason for this is that solar charging becomes less efficient the hotter the solar panel gets.
This also means that you can charge solar lights through windows. All you need to do is place the solar lights on a windowsill with the charging panel pointing outside. The same is also true about charging solar lights indoors without the sun. Solar lights don’t need direct sunlight to charge-all they need is light. So, you can use artificial light sources to charge any kind of solar-powered equipment.
Solar Lights Work in Winter
Because solar lights just need daylight to work, they work in winter just as well as they do in summer. However, there are a few factors why solar lights don’t work as well in winter as they do at other times of the year.
One reason is that the sun is generally at a lower angle in the sky. So, the sun’s rays are less powerful than they are in the summertime. This can also mean that there are more shadows on the solar light panels which then affect charging efficiency.
Another reason why solar lights may not work from ‘dust to dawn’ is that winter days are shorter and the nights are longer. So, although your solar lights may work for a few hours in winter evenings, the battery charge probably won’t last until the morning.
Why Do Solar Garden Lights Stop Working?
Usually, the main reason why solar-powered garden lights stop working is due to charging issues. Here are a few of the most common reasons why solar lights in your garden fail to turn on:
- Plants have grown and block direct sunlight on the solar panel
- The angle of the solar light panel has moved and no longer charges efficiently
- Solar panels can stop working in winter if snow covers the charging panel during the day
- The rechargeable battery needs replacing
If you need to change the batteries, it is not advisable to use just any battery. You should always replace batteries in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.
When looking for the best solar outside lights, always ensure that they have the best charging efficiency possible. You should also check to see that they are fully weatherproof and are just as efficient in hot weather as they are in cold weather.
Solar outside garden light can help to illuminate your garden, driveway, and home perimeter even in the darkest of evenings.