Pros and Cons of Outdoor Solar Lighting

Solar lighting is a great alternative to traditional landscape lights. It helps homeowners, businesses, and municipalities reduce energy costs while helping the environment.

Solar pathway and decorative lights work by capturing sunlight during the day and automatically turning on at night. They also help to reduce light pollution, which is an environmental concern in many parts of the world.

1. Cost

Solar lights do have a higher upfront cost than traditional light fixtures, but the price tag will quickly pay for itself in lower energy bills and bulb replacement costs. This makes them a smart choice for consumers who prioritize savings over the long run.

During the day, solar outdoor lighting captures sunlight through panels located on top of the fixture and converts it to electricity using photovoltaic cells. This energy is then stored in a battery inside the fixture until daylight fades, and the LED lights are activated.

The main catch is that solar lights rely on consistent sunshine to work. If your area is prone to cloudy or rainy weather, the lights may not charge enough on stormy days and will only provide a fraction of their normal brightness. This can be a problem for areas that need bright, full illumination throughout the day like pathways or patios.

2. Energy Efficiency

Solar outdoor lights are powered by the sun and don’t connect to your electric system. During the day, they capture sunlight and convert it to electricity, which is stored in batteries until dark. Once the sun sets, they turn on automatically and illuminate your business until dawn, when they turn off again. They also provide a soft glow that deters prowlers and keeps visitors safe along walkways. Some have dimmers that can be controlled with a smartphone or smart assistant.

While they have a higher upfront cost than traditional lighting, solar lighting costs less over the long term. This is because you don’t have to pay utility bills, and there are no ongoing electricity fees. Plus, no costly trenching or electrical extensions are required.

It is also important to understand that the nightly run times listed for solar lights reflect sunlight conditions at the time of testing. If the solar cell location is shaded by bushes, trees or other landscape features, the battery charging and operating times will be reduced. Those factors may also cause the lights to fail at an unexpected time, leaving homeowners or businesses in the dark and potentially increasing liabilities.

3. Maintenance

Solar landscape lighting requires minimal maintenance, and many owners find it is much easier than the traditional wired form. Since no electrical wiring is required, the fixtures are more easily installed in locations that can’t accommodate the laying of underground or overhead wires.

Like any outdoor fixture, solar lights must be kept clean and free from obstructions that can block or limit sunlight to the solar cells. In addition, the batteries will need to be checked and replaced as necessary. If you notice your solar light is significantly dimmer than it was previously, cannot stay on for long periods of time or does not turn on at all, the batteries have probably reached the end of their lifespan and need to be replaced.

4. Appearance

Solar lights are attractive and add to the overall look of your landscape. They are also very easy to set up. Depending on the type, they can be staked into the ground or hung from a stand.

Some solar lights come with a remote control to make it easier to change the mode and colors of the light without having to bend down or fiddle behind the panel. This is a useful feature especially if you have children or pets who like to play with the lights.

5. Security

Solar outdoor lighting is an excellent choice for security purposes because it is very bright and provides a visible deterrent to potential burglars. It also makes it easy for homeowners to identify who or what is around them and safely navigate walkways or driveways at night.

Like traditional light fixtures, solar lights come with options for timers and motion sensors that can activate the fixture when it detects movement. This feature reduces energy use and allows your solar light to recharge during periods of inactivity, which can prolong the life of the batteries.