Whether you’re buying elegant solar garden lights for your home or investing in estate lighting solutions and solar street lights for larger-scale outdoor areas, there is often a misconception that the environmentally friendly nature of solar outdoor lights requires a compromise.
Although some solar energy-based products indeed have slower charging times or dips in performance compared to their electrical counterparts, this doesn’t apply to solar lighting solutions.
Having evolved over several years, solar-powered lighting models built with advanced materials, technology and smart functionality can provide exceptional economies with long-lasting casings and automated features that mean your solar lights aren’t just good for the environment – they offer maximum efficiency.
Let’s look at electric vs. solar outdoor lights to explore the variables.
The Longevity and Maintenance of Solar Outdoor Lights vs Electrical
One of the first areas to consider is maintenance and the potential for something to go wrong. Electrical lighting is cabled, with wires connecting each lighting unit to the mains power system – something estate managers and park owners will know can be costly and time-consuming.
A positive aspect is that once all your electric lights are installed, they should run reliably, with bright illuminations powered by the mains grid. The stumbling block is that these lights have multiple parts and components and, therefore, a multitude of things that may fail or become worn.
Typical maintenance issues include:
- Blown bulbs due to power surges or outages.
- Damage to wires and cables fitted under the ground.
- Tampering and vandalism.
- Water ingress and heavy winds impacting connection points.
If an electrical outdoor lighting system is damaged, you will need to call out an electrician with the appropriate qualifications and safety training to repair or replace the affected parts. That may mean waiting one or two days for somebody to attend and can be costly depending on the extent of the damage and whether any replacement cabling is required.
Solar lights work autonomously, each as an independent, standalone unit with an in-built solar panel charging the cells within the battery. They are significantly less exposed to environmental damage, are unaffected by issues with the mains power supply, and, when maintenance is required, can be replaced immediately without further delay.
Features Available in Smart Solar Powered Lights
We often hear a concern from clients looking to buy efficient solar-powered garden lights or landscape lights that dramatically reduce their electricity costs: how solar lights operate in poor weather.
There is a huge range of categories within solar outdoor lights, so if you need to purchase lighting that will work with 100% reliability even in overcast and dark conditions, we’d always recommend looking for professionally engineered lights, with smart lighting a great option.
Some of the light designs that leverage cutting-edge technology include:
- Step-down lighting, where the light unit automatically reduces the brightness of the light produced to account for the amount of charge available. This tech means that a solar lighting battery can continue running for hours and even days on a minimal charge, with a reduction in light emissions that is barely noticeable.
- Programmable functionality, where a solar light can turn on and off based on light levels or be programmed to change settings based on specific times or durations.
- Standby modes, which enable a solar lighting unit to remain active, yet in a setting that conserves the battery – PIR sensors or other automatic motion detectors trigger the light to turn on only as and when it is needed.
- TCS (temperature control technology); preventing the solar battery from overheating, extending the life cycle of the battery, and ensuring solar outdoor lights never overheat or become less effective due to the cold.
All these elements enhance the efficiency of an outdoor solar light, with modern solar lighting panels able to extract solar energy during both beautifully sunny days and times of the year when it tends to be a bit overcast.
While recharging times will inevitably be slower when under cloud cover, the battery will still have sufficient time to charge and be ready to activate automatically when dusk falls.
Are Solar Outdoor Lights Suitable as Security Lighting?
Solar lights are commonly used to protect a property from potential threats and act as a safeguard as security lighting, flooding your outdoor space with light as soon as your lighting units sense any movement or motion.
Among the many benefits of solar-powered lights for security purposes, they provide excellent assurance that your solar outdoor lights will continue functioning regardless of power cuts and outages, extreme weather conditions or tampering attempts.
Lack of a dependable electricity supply is a key reason many property owners and business managers opt for solar lights, with the knowledge that their security systems will remain in perfect condition and invulnerable to any scenarios that mean conventional wired lighting units will be rendered redundant.
Incorporating features from accredited waterproof casings to automatic recharging, advanced solar lights provide great value for money and are the ideal options for countless applications.
How to Choose Between Wired Electrical and Solar-Powered Outdoor Lights
As we’ve explored, solar lights use a range of features and functions to improve efficiency, ensuring the batteries recharge fully during sunnier days and conserve power through intelligent light distribution – with one full charge often capable of lasting for as long as ten days.
The best solution depends very much on where and how you wish to install outdoor solar lights or eco-friendly estate lighting, with a wide product range available for direct delivery from Solight, spanning decorative garden lights for entertaining, to robust security lights.
Our Solar Smart Area Light is a great all-around solution for commercial spaces, with exceptional capabilities from anti-corrosion finishes to variable installation mounts, patented ALS 2.5 technology and a swift charging time.
If you are unsure which options to select, our solar lighting experts are always on hand to provide further information and advice to ensure your lighting is fit for purpose and seamlessly efficient.