Modern solar lighting uses LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). Compared to incandescent lamps, LEDs consume very little energy. This explains why LEDs are so widely used in solar applications. Another advantage of solar LED lights is that they are very long lasting. Some are rated between fifteen and one hundred thousand hours of operation.
Solar lighting comes in a large variety of models covering a lot of applications
The most popular ones are solar yard lights that can be found in almost every garden shop or supermarket. But solar powered lights are not only limited to landscape lighting. Actually more professional products are appearing on the market, a few of them are solar street lights, solar traffic lights, solar traffic signs, solar road studs, solar obstruction lights for airports, solar marine lights etc.
In all cases, installing solar lighting is straightforward and trouble free. The beauty of it is that solar powered lights don’t need any cabling or electricity to work and they are very safe. Once you have decided where you want to provide lighting, you just need to place the light in a sunny location and let the electronic works.
The principle is quite simple and the same for all kind of solar powered products. During the day, a small solar panel harvests the sunlight and transforms the collected energy to electricity in order to charge the batteries located inside the light. Usually solar powered lights are equipped with photocells that act like an automatic switch. When the photocell detects the change of luminosity when night falls, it switches on the LEDs until sunrise.
Solar powered lights that are made of good quality components can dispense long hours of lighting if the rechargeable batteries are charged properly. This is why when installing solar lighting, it is very important to make sure that the solar panel receives enough sunshine all day long.
Some solar lights have a stand-alone solar panel which is connected to the fixture by a long and thin cable. This option is very interesting if you need to place the light fixture in a location where no sunshine is available.
With solar lighting, maintenance is kept to a minimum
The only thing required is to clean the surface of the solar panel when dirty. The reason being that with time, dust and other residue will form an opaque layer preventing the solar cells to charge the batteries properly.
Battery wise, don’t expect to need to replace them very often. In general they will last for approximately 2 years, assuming that the batteries supplied are of good quality. A last important point to remember when time has come to replace the batteries, is to make sure to choose NiMh batteries instead of NiCd ones. By doing so, your solar lighting system will work better for years to come.