Solar lighting is an energy efficient way to provide outdoor artificial light. A solar light contains a solar collector that converts sunlight into electrical energy. This energy is stored in a rechargeable battery, which provides light when the sunlight is gone. Because each solar light unit has an integrated power source and requires no wiring, solar lighting is a suitable choice for outdoor lighting in gardens, patios, and ponds.
Is Solar Lighting a Good Choice?
On a full charge, a solar light can stay on for up to fifteen hours. The rechargeable battery in a solar light usually lasts at least one thousand discharge cycles, which means that it can run for more than one thousand nights before being replaced. The actual light source in a solar light is a Light Emitting Diode (LED), which has a lifespan of approximately twenty-five years. The LED on a solar tends to be lower in intensity compared to other forms of outdoor lighting; while some may view this as a disadvantage, others prefer the softer, more subtle lighting effect.
Another possible disadvantage of solar lighting is that it requires sunlight; in areas that do not have consistent daytime sunlight, this is a potential problem. However, it can be argued that periods of inclement weather are not the best times to be outdoors in the garden or lounging on the patio. Many users store the solar lights during winter, bringing them out when the weather conditions are more favorable.
Solar Lighting Options
Solar lighting is available in a variety of designs and finishes. The lantern style is available in typical lantern form for placing on a table, hanging, or with a stake attached. Stake lights can be used to accent the lines formed at the edge of concrete and the garden landscaping, creating either a path or a boundary. Lantern-style lights can cover a relatively large area, so tall plants can be planted at the base of a stake light to direct the lighting in specific ways.
Spotlights are designed to be placed directly on the ground and can be used like lanterns to mark paths, but can also serve as accents. They can be raised uniformly on one side or another, which allows flexibility in the direction of the light. For example, two spotlights can be placed on either side of a fountain and tilted in the direction of the fountain. Globe lights have a rounded covering and can be used on stakes, on the ground, or even floating on water.