Outdoor solar lighting for your deck or patio
Solar lighting is a very popular solution for yards, gardens, decks and patios. Drawing on batteries which are charged during the day when the sun is out, solar lights can be configured to illuminate automatically at night or be switched on and off at will. They are available in countless variations, from classic brownstone lantern-style lights to strikingly contemporary and minimalist designs.
There are several different types of solar lighting systems which are available for residential applications, including solar lamp posts, landscape lights, path lights, patio lights, shed lights, spotlights and motion-activated security lights. Regardless of the application, they all draw on similar technologies to provide you with bright and inexpensive light.
How Solar Lighting Systems Work
Outdoor solar lighting systems, whether they consist of a single anchor light or a network of path or garden lights, are connected to photovoltaic batteries. On a sunny day, the battery will capture sunlight, which it converts to energy to increase its charge. Think of them as big rechargeable batteries that rely on sunshine instead of battery chargers. When you want to light up the outdoors, simply flick a switch and your lights will draw on the battery's power reserve to generate light. You can also attach dimmer switches to your system if you want brighter lighting or if you want to conserve battery power by turning the lights down.
Advances in Outdoor Solar Lighting
One of the most exciting innovations in the world of solar deck lighting is the implementation of light-emitting diode or LED technology. Solar LED lighting is poised to make major market gains in the upcoming years because of its combination of cost-effectiveness, environmental responsibility, and ease of use and maintenance.
While the technology is still being improved upon and perfected, early estimates show that LED solar lighting is capable of shining more than 20 times brighter than conventional solar deck lighting systems, all while using up to 90 percent less battery power. LED light bulbs last an extremely long time—as long as a decade—meaning you won't have to replace system components very often. Heavily used LED solar lighting batteries have an average lifespan of about two to three years, making these outdoor lighting technologies among the most attractive available to homeowners.