Solar Lights - Bright Enough For Your Garden?
Outdoor Solar Powered Lights Provide Sufficient Illumination?
The way in which solar powered lights work is constantly evolving. Over
the past three years the quality has improved dramatically. At one
time, solar lights were not as bright as people expected and the life
expectancy of a solar panel was only two to three years. Today, good
quality solar lights are bright enough for almost any outdoor space and
can light a garden for the entire evening. The best models will now
last up to 20 Years.
factors have contributed to the improved technology behind solar
• Each light contains a photovoltaic cell that captures solar energy
from the sun. Nowadays a cell can capture about 15% of the sun’s light
whereas in the past, this figure was 5%.
• The use of silicon in the photovoltaic cells has improved efficiency
but other materials are now being experimented with which may also
increase solar efficiency.
• The solid state LED bulbs that are now in use are much more efficient
than ordinary gas-filled bulbs. The filament in a normal gas-filled
bulb produces heat as well as light. Solid State LED bulbs use
technology that manipulates electrons, moving them in a certain
direction. This produces photons which in turn are responsible for
• Solid state LED bulbs have a lifetime of 10,000 hours, use on average
just 3 watts of power and are maintenance free.
As a general note, the higher the quality of the solar garden product,
the better the quality of light.
I am beginning to really get a feel for where I can use solar power
outside. We recently built a deck in our garden and have used solar
uplighters to illuminate some parts. This has proven to be really
successful especially near the steps. They are no longer a trip
hazard as they are continually lit.
Installation was so simple, just charge up the solar cells, place the
unit in the desired location and job done - no
wiring and no energy costs!
On Using Outdoor Solar Lighting In Your Garden
The use of solar outdoor lights can increase the aesthetic feel of any
garden and is ideal for accentuating pathways, steps and driveways. As
the solar batteries contained within the lights provide all the power
needed, there is none of the headache and expense associated with
electrical wiring. Solar lighting can also offer practical safety
solutions in locations that would be difficult to wire-up.
Solar lights are perfect for outlining pathways and garden features
with a gentle glowing light that can look attractive in the garden once
the sun has set.
There is also an enormous benefit to the environment if solar power is
the energy of choice. Solar lights use rays from the sun to charge
small integrated batteries. The quality of the batteries (small
photovoltaic or PV cells) determines how bright the light will be and
how long the light will remain on. By using this renewable source of
energy we are contributing to a reduction in the use of
Many solar lights now use LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs and
nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal-hydride batteries. LED´s produce
brighter light, use much less electricity, and last substantially
longer than the old incandescent bulbs. The new batteries take and hold
a charge much better than the lead-acid units previously used.
The quality of solar powered lights has improved dramatically and hence
the variety of garden solar lights is increasing all the time. Examples
include solar lights to line pathways, solar spotlights
that can accentuate a point of interest in the
garden and little solar powered fairy lights that look great for the
summer barbecue and just as good at Christmas.
Solar garden lights require no wiring as they charge their integral
batteries through the daytime from the sun´s rays. This does mean that
they are more effective when placed in a sunny position although the
better ones will still charge on an overcast day. Solar lights usually
work by coming on automatically at dusk although some do have a manual
Unfortunately solar lights will not work fully and completely in a
British winter as there is not enough sunlight to fully re-charge the
batteries. However there is usually sufficient power to last through
the main part of an evening.