Landscape or outdoor lighting has a remarkable way of increasing the aesthetic value of any sort of landscape. Many options are available in it that range from landscape and flood lights to solar security lighting. It is designed to accentuate pathways, driveways, and even steps.
What is Solar Landscape Lighting?
As the name suggests, landscape or outdoor lighting done with the help of lights that work on solar power is known as solar landscape lighting. Solar lights have the capacity to run anywhere from 8 to 10 hours every night, depending entirely on the amount of sunlight that they have been exposed to during the day.
If done in the right way, solar landscape is indeed easy to install and can be remarkably handy. But it is extremely important to first consider the placement of the lights and the geography and topography of your home before you actually go ahead and select the kind of lighting that you want.
How Does It Work?
These lights make use of tiny photo voltaic cells (PV) or solar powered cells to charge the battery that is integrated into the lighting fixture. After the battery is charged in the sun for the whole day, it provides the required electricity to make sure the lights are illuminated after nightfall.
As far as unsightly wires running around and making the place look like a mess is concerned, you can rest assured that each of these solar lights has its own battery, so there is no basic need to run wires.
The PV panel that is used for charging the battery should be placed in such a way that it receives direct sunlight. This is done because shading of the panel by certain external features like buildings, trees, or even droppings can have a massive impact on the battery charging, thus affecting the 'run-time' of the lights at night.
So, if your garden has a lot of trees or if there is limited sunlight filtering through, this lighting will probably won't work. With such large running capacities, the strong point about any solar light is that during summers, it can run all night. The only known drawback would be during winters, where you shouldn't expect them to operate to full capacity.
Types of Solar Lights
Solar lighting comes in a vast variety of styles. Some models are decorative and are made up of die-cast metal for styling detail and durability. Most manufacturers prefer to install the PV cell into the lighting fixture itself. However, this can work against you if you place the light in the shade.
Other lighting models tend to separate the PV panel from the lighting fixture. In this way, the PV module will be able to receive maximum sunlight. The only drawback would be that this technique would bring you back to the days of burying wires.
Some of the earlier versions of these lighting fixtures provided poor light and that too for limited periods of time. Likewise, incandescent bulbs had the tendency to burn out quickly without really producing much light. Not only were the batteries difficult to charge, but the life expectancy was considerably short as well.
Nowadays, most solar landscaping lights make use of LED light bulbs and nickel-metal-hydride or nickel-cadmium batteries. These lights are brighter and use up less electricity while lasting for a longer period of time than their incandescent predecessors. The new batteries can hold a charge for a much longer period of time than the older lead-acid units.
Even with such improved batteries, you should never make the mistake of expecting solar landscaping lights to be as powerful or bright as your regular low-voltage lights. So, before you go ahead and select the ideal lights, make sure you check with your manufacturer on the availability of replacement batteries or bulbs.
It will definitely not do you any good to install the lighting that you cannot maintain well. On the other hand, if you've got just the right location going for you, solar landscape lighting may be the right thing to opt for.