Guide to Solar Garden Lights - Lighting Style
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Solar Lighting Guide

Sometimes the best option is the one that's staring us in the face. In the case of powering garden and outdoor lighting systems, that could well be the sun.
Yes, the big old yellow orb in the sky is able to provide a plentiful supply of energy to fire a collection of lighting for your garden and outdoor space. But how best to tap into this possibility and design a garden lighting collection that works to its best? Here is a guide to Solar Garden Lights to point you in the right direction.

Bulb in natural light

What Is a Solar Light?

A solar light is a sun-powered exterior lighting fixture that provides illumination, safety and security for gardens, decks, patios, paths and pool areas. The basis of a solar light is its solar panel which converts sunlight to electricity. The solar light draws its power from a rechargeable battery that is connected to the solar panel.

How Does a Solar Panel Function?

The solar panel is constructed from layers upon layers of crystals which contain negatively charged electrons and positively charged spaces. When sunlight strike the solar panel, it provides the power to push to the electrons into the positively charged spaces. The electrons are then transferred to the light as electric current.

What Are the Benefits of Solar Lights?

Solar lighting in the garden has a whole wealth of benefits, including:
- The price of powering the light costs nothing at all. Unlike other methods used to power lighting systems, harnessing the natural power of the sun comes at no extra charge. Once you've made the initial outlay of buying and setting up the lights, that's it. No more charges, just reliable lighting.
- Another great benefit is to the environment. Solar energy does not pollute and does no damage to the world. As more and more people and businesses become environmentally aware and attempt to minimise their detrimental impact on the world, looking at the processes that go in to our everyday life makes more and more sense. Lighting is part of this, and another way to take out any potential for power waste or environmental damage should be welcomed.
- Solar garden lighting systems also win praise for how easy they are to install. Often it simply involves choosing a sensible spot for the lights and then inserting them into the ground. It involves very little effort and, once night falls, you will soon be able to see the lights in action.
- Another good point in solar lighting's favour is the safety aspect. As all of the energy is solar the power is safe and stable and does not have the potential for sudden power surges. Solar lighting systems also remains working if there is a local power outage, making the outdoor area safe if you are using solar lighting as a security measure.
- Another great benefit is that solar lights often arrive in modern minimalist designs, well shaped to blend in well with the garden. They will only become obvious when lit up after night fall. During the day while powering up on the sun's rays, they will not be prominent, just sitting in the garden on stand-by.

What are the Different Types of Solar Lights?

There are a large number of solar lighting categories including:
- Solar bollard lights sit on top of a small pole, generally about one metre in height.
- Solar camping lights are portable lanterns with inbuilt solar panels, used for camping and hiking.
- Solar deck lights Solar are used on decking stairs and patios, and provide intimate lighting without having to trip over the light.
- Solar fairy lights are on long wires, used for decoration - they are hung in trees, shrubs and gazebos.
- Solar flood lights are extremely bright lights used when string illumination is required.
- Solar lamp posts sit on top of a tall pole, generally about 2m in height.
- Solar sensor lights turn on when they detect motion.
- Solar spotlights and spike lights are directional and sit just above the ground.
- Solar street lights are exactly like electrical street lights but are powered by solar panels.
- Solar wall lights are mounted directly on walls and used for illuminating entrance and sidewalks.
- Solar step lights are mounted placed directly at the ends of stairs.
- Solar emergency lights are used against power outages.
- Solar lanterns are are wall mounted coach lights with solar panels.

Solar cells lamps

How To Install Solar Lights?

Now you've decided to use solar lighting in your garden, you need to decide where to install them. The main things to remember are:
1. Try to highlight the main feature in your garden or yard. Favourite plants, water features, garden paths and outbuilding can all be lit up with correctly placed lighting.
2. As you are using solar equipment, being in full view of the sun during the day is of paramount importance. Make sure there are no obstructions or shadowsso that the solar panels get enough sunlight.
3. Prepare the ground. You can soften the ground before installation with a little water or by breaking up hard ground with a fork or shovel. Avoid trying to install a light stake into very hard ground, as this may damage the unit.

Outdoor solar light

Which Solar Panel Direction Is Best?

The orientation of your solar panels is critical for optimal performance of your solar light. As a rule of thumb, you should install your solar panels so they point directly into the sun at midday. It is recommended that you reset the panels during winter and summer, as the sun will change its position throughout the year. The precise answer is different for every location but if you are in the Southern hemisphere, the solar panel need to face North - and if you you are in the Northern hemisphere then the solar panels need to face South.

Do Solar Lights Charge When It Is Cloudy?

Solar lights do charge when it is cloudy - even wintry days - but it will be slower and less efficient as compared to a sunny day. To make sure that the solar panels charge, keep them very clean and have them directed as much as possible at where the sun is behind the clouds.

How long Do Solar Lights Last?

Solar lights these days have advanced remarkably in terms of quality - both in their ability to extract solar energy (solar panels), store the energy (batteries) and illuminate (LED lights). Most solar lights should be expected to last about 4 years before the batteries start to deteriorate.