Designing With Outdoor Solar Lighting

Solar lighting is popular because it won’t increase your hydro bill and is usually easy to install and move. Solar lights are available in a variety of options from small pathway lights to wall-mounted lamps and security lights. But not all solar lights are created equal. You really do get what you pay for. The solar lights purchased from a discount chain store will perform differently than the high-end lights installed by our experts at Nite Time Décor.

There are some important factors to consider when choosing solar lighting for your outdoor lighting design.

How Solar Lights Work

Solar lights use solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity. The electricity is stored in a battery within the light. All the normal rules to prolonging the life of a batter will apply. If the battery isn’t fully charged, the light will be dimmer or run for a shorter amount of time. A battery that is consistently under-charged will wear out faster.

Placement Is Important

This really can’t be emphasized enough. Solar lighting is only as bright and reliable as the sunlight powering it. If you live in a climate that receives rain four or five days a week, as an extreme example, then solar lights might not be the best choice. If you want solar lights along a pathway that’s in shade most of the time, you might be disappointed. Please account for these variables in your design.

There are some solar lights units that come with the solar cells separate from the light itself, so only the solar cell needs to be in full sun, the light does not. This may be an option if you are really set on solar lights in shaded parts of your landscape.

How Do You Need The Light To Function?

When choosing a solar light, consider where and how the light will be used. You can work around lights placed in the shade by purchasing a unit with a separate solar cell. Solar lighting for aesthetic purposes will not need to shine as brightly as security lighting for instance. If a guest misses that plant you really love is not as important as illuminating the stairs or the pool deck for instance.

Read The Manufacturer’s Specifications

Solar cells are designed to receive a specific amount of sun to produce enough electricity to power the light for the stated period of time. If the solar cells don’t receive the amount of sun they will not perform as stated. This could include the realities of the climate or location you want the lights to work in. This could also be affected by plants growing to obstruct the solar cell or even bird droppings.

Another consideration is to check if replacement bulbs or batteries are available from the manufacturer. When choosing a light unit, consider how long the manufacturer reasonably expects it to last under normal use.

Expect Seasonal Differences

Solar lights are generally less efficient in winter due to limited sunshine. Design and placement of the solar cells for winter lighting should be considered. Expect solar lights to perform 30%-50% less efficiently in winter than in the summer months. And make sure the solar lights you use are rated for all season usage.

Let the outdoor lighting experts at Nite Time Décor in Oakville shine a light on your landscape. Contact us today to help you plan a dynamic lighting display for your home or business.