Friday, April 18, 2014

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How to Choose the Right Solar Lights

Using solar lighting outdoors can be a lifesaver when outdoor outlets are not available. But do solar-powered lights really work? How do they measure up to hardwired electric lights? And what if your yard is shady or you live somewhere that rarely sees the sun? Here’s the full scoop on choosing and using solar-powered lights in your yard.



How solar lighting works. Photovoltaic cells absorb sunlight during the day to charge the batteries, which then light the bulb at night. Because solar lights are powered by the sun, they must be placed in an area that receives full sun — ideally eight or more hours per day.



What if you don’t have direct sun? If you are putting solar lights in your desert yard in Tucscon or Palm Springs, they are sure to operate at maximum strength — but what if you live in Seattle or simply have a heavily shaded yard? It’s not quite as simple, but you can still have solar-powered lights, even in a fully shaded area. A solar or landscape lighting pro can help position a remote photovoltaic panel on your roof or in a sunnier area of your yard, which can then be wired to the lights in the shady area.


If there simply isn’t much sunlight to be gathered, even on the roof (for example, you live somewhere like Seattle or Portland), the solar lights will still work, but they won’t shine as brightly or for as long each evening.



Types of Solar Lights


Solar path lights. These are small solar lights on stakes, which can be pushed into the ground alongside a walkway to softly illuminate the path at night. They are not as bright as electric path lights, so plan to use more (up to twice as many) to light your path with roughly the same glow as electric.


Continue reading How to Choose the Right Solar Lights



How to Choose the Right Solar Lights

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