How Do Solar Garden Lights Work?

by Joe on May 19, 2010

One of the growing trends with outdoor landscaping and d├ęcor has been the increased usage of solar garden lights. Using solar lights can help reduce your energy impact by a large margin, and they are very simple to acquire and set up. Take a quick look at some of the most important information about how solar lighting works and what you’ll need to know to keep them up and running as efficiently as possible.

Solar lighting follows a very simple principle. In short, light rays are collected and then converted into energy before being passed to an actual power source that can feed into a light. More technically, a solar collector harvests the UV rays from direct sunlight and turns them into electrical currents using semiconductors. The current is passed along to an energy storage unit such as rechargeable batteries where it can then directly pass that current along into whatever is being operated.

However, there are a few other important aspects that you should familiarize yourself with before turning to solar garden lights. One of the biggest concerns that homeowners have is losing access to those lights on cloudy days. If your solar lighting does not have storage capabilities and only charges before operating, then this is a viable concern. Your solar lights still do collect UV rays even with cloudy and rainy weather, however it typically will not be sufficient to fully power your lighting.

You can combat that problem by purchasing solar lights that do have the capacity for at least some energy storage. In this fashion, you’ll be able to trust that on previous sunny days the lighting unit obtained enough energy to run even when it was not very bright or sunny on that particular day.

There are other steps you can take to ensure that your solar lighting is working to its fullest potential as well. For example, the placement of your solar garden lights is going to be very important. You want the collection unit to be completely unobstructed from shadows and other impediments, so choose your location wisely. You want to be in a location that receives a lot of sunlight on your property, and you would of course not want to place the fixtures directly under hanging tree branches or anything like that.

From there, you will also want to keep your solar collector as clean as possible. Dust, dirt and debris can actually block sunlight from being properly or fully collected. Additionally, you will need to change out your battery perhaps once per year to keep it humming along.

Hopefully by now you have a bit of a better sense of what solar garden lights are all about. They are very simple devices and they can work wonderfully while reducing your energy usage and saving you money over the long haul. They’re also easy to work with, just be sure to place them in the proper location and to take whatever other steps are needed to keep them fine-tuned and working efficiently.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alicia February 14, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I’ve only just become interested in solar lights to find such fascinating science behind them. It is absolutely astounding how the solar panel captures the sunlight and how it is stored in the batteries. Such a clean form of energy. This was great to read through. Thank you for sharing!

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david June 7, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Thanks for sharing

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