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Solar Powered Lights

May 25th, 2010

solar-lighting.jpgWith recent developments in technology and ongoing interest in environmental concerns, solar powered lights have become more and more popular in the last few years. As an alternative to other sources and a renewable source of energy, solar power helps in maintaining a non-polluting environment. Solar powered lights are extremely easy to install and generally require little or no maintenance. On top of everything else, you contribute your bit for saving the environment and natural resources for generating electricity by using them.

These lights use photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight to electricity. Most solar lights now use LEDs, which have a life expectancy of 20 years and 100,000 hours of use, and consume very little power compared to ordinary bulbs. These LEDs are connected to rechargeable batteries that power them and make a solar light work.

Solar powered lights can be categorized on the basis of indoor and outdoor lights. Outdoor solar powered lights are more popular than indoor lights simply for the fact that they are easier to install, use, and maintain.

Outdoor lights can be used for creating ambient lighting, critical lighting, and non-critical lighting.

Ambient lighting can be created with pool lights, pond lights, garden lights, path, walkway, and driveway lights, ornamental or accent lights, patio lights, torch lights, post or pole lights, lanterns, and tiered lights. A range of portable solar lights is also available.

Critical lights are security lights, flashlights, recreational lanterns, and marine lights.

Non-critical lights include spotlights, commercial sign lights, billboard lights, street lamps, floodlights, post lights, and flag lights.

A host of websites offer a variety of solar powered lights for outdoor as well as indoor use. SolarIlluminations.com and SolarHome.org offer great variety and good service along with an ample supply of information on solar power and solar lighting.

Solar powered lights usually require two to three days for an initial charging. They work with a built-in light sensor that detects diminishing light and switches on the brightness automatically. However, the light may not switch on automatically at times because of ambient light, for example from a nearby street light. Not all lights come with a built-in sensor, so check for one before buying it.

Different solar lighting products have different time spans for lighting. Some may remain lit only up to four or five hours whereas others may remain lit the entire night. If the batteries do not get enough sunlight, as in winters at high latitudes, they might not charge fully and so may not work the entire night.

Solar light batteries are easily replaceable. They usually use Ni-Cad or Ni-Mh rechargeable AA-size batteries. LED solar lights have an output of 1 to 3 watts, and others are usually 10 watt ones. For optimal charging and output, it is preferable to use 10 watt bulbs only and not replace them with a higher wattage bulb. Although solar powered lights can cost a little more than ordinary ones, it is a wise investment that will last you a lifetime and help save on energy bills.


This article was supplied by Nidhi Varma.


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