Solar Lighting has become popular among house-owners as an alternative cost-efficient means of lighting up outdoor spaces. Solar lights come equipped with batteries which are recharged by solar power. These batteries, in turn, power the bulbs in the lights. Solar lights mostly use LED bulbs owing to their relatively lower energy consumption and longer bulb lifespan. Since these lights depend on sunlight for their energy needs, they are maintenance-free and do not require any wiring or cabling for installation. The only prerequisite for effective functioning of solar lights is that they be placed in areas where sunlight is abundantly available. Alternately, the solar panel which charges the lights can be placed at a spot where it receives sunlight throughout the day, irrespective of the season. To be effective, solar lights need sunlight for 12-14 hours every day. Solar Lighting is generally used for the following applications:
Solar Spot Accent Lights: These are placed lower down, generally near the ground, and focus upwards. They are used to high-light trees, shrubs, statuary and other out-standing features in the landscape. These include in-ground lights which are placed to mark pathways and driveways on the property.
Solar Pathway Lights: These include step and brick lights and lower level solar lights that focus downwards to avoid glare. They are used to light up steps and obstacles on the ground and are helpful in avoiding mishaps.
Solar Deck and Patio Lights: These are used to light up the area around decks and patios. They are used to create an ambience for outdoor use, parties and get-togethers.
Solar Lamp Post lights are placed along walkways, fences and railings or balconies to provide ambient lighting at night, and are positioned on top lamp-posts.
Solar Security Lights: These include large-area flood lights and small but distinct warning lights. While flood lights are usually connected to motion sensors so that they turn on when they detect movement, warning lights are designed to operate continuously with a blinking light for 15-20 nights at a stretch.
Solar Mood Decorative Lights: These are mostly hanging or upright standing lights. They either contain bulbs or lenses on varied colors, or contain ornamental accessories such as a provision to place shrubs and plants. As the name suggests, they are used for decorative purposes.
When installing solar lighting, apart from abundant sunlight, care should also be taken to see that the lights are not placed in the path of lawn-mowers or vehicles (unless they are specially designed in-ground lights meant for driveways). Before driving the stake into the ground for installing solar lighting, the soil should be dampened to make it soft and malleable. This facilitates effortless installation. Further, solar lighting needs a larger number of lights for the same amount of illumination, when compared to lights which run on electricity. Having said this, solar lighting still works out to be inexpensive since the lights are available at reasonable prices and do not require any operational expenses.