Solar lighting is changing the way we illuminate our outdoor spaces. By employing the sun’s completely renewable source of energy, solar lights are the most environmentally friendly lighting solution available, and also free to run. Solar lights are also incredibly easy to install because there’s no need for wiring, and because of this they can also be moved easily and positioned further away from a building than a wired light fitting might allow.
However, despite these benefits, there are many myths surrounding solar technology and its capabilities as a viable lighting solution. Time to bust some myths.
1. Solar lights don’t work in winter
Solar lights work best when exposed to natural daylight for long periods of time, particularly throughout summer months when the days are longer. However, because solar lights harvest energy from daylight, not direct sunlight per se, they will continue to work in winter too, even on cloudy and overcast days – albeit for shorter periods of time in most cases. So long as solar charging panels are positioned away from shady areas and obstacles, kept clean of dirt and debris, and angled to maximise exposure to the sun, there’s no reason solar lights can’t be enjoyed year-round.
2. Solar lights need to be switched off every day in order to charge
In some cases this may be true, but many solar lights, such as the 365 solar wall light, now come equipped with PIR motion sensor technology, which maximises efficiency by only triggering illumination when motion is detected – this is particularly useful for practical outdoor lighting or security lighting.
Other solar lights, such as the Cole and Bright LED solar post light, come equipped with dusk to dawn settings, meaning the lights will come on when night falls, and switch off again when sunlight is detected. Alternatively, some solar lights can be manually operated, with options to turn on or off, or to operate in 12 hour cycles, for example.
3. Solar lights aren’t practical
When outdoor solar lights first came onto the scene, they were viewed by many as a novelty lighting solution that offered more form than function. But this has now changed, with solar lights offering a number of practical solutions, including security flood lights, wall lights, and even shed lights.
4. Solar lights are unreliable
Solar lighting technology has come a long way in recent years, with the most significant improvement coming in the form of LED bulbs. Capable of creating bright light without generating the waste heat of traditional bulbs, LEDs mean power is put to better use, generating more light for longer periods. In addition, significant improvements have been made to solar battery cells, making them more efficient, more reliable, and less vulnerable to the harsh British weather.
5. Solar lights aren’t bright
Just because solar lights aren’t connected to the mains, it doesn’t mean their output is weak. The Cole and Bright spotlight, for example, offers 300 lumens for three hours, dropping to 50 lumens for three hours, and then ten lumens for the final four hours.
While a solar powered light will not be able to compete with a mains powered light in terms of light output, at least not for sustained periods, the light they emit is perfectly suitable for most home related tasks, be it adding some wow-factor to a garden party, or illuminating a path or driveway.
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