If there is one area of your home or property that will really benefit from the addition of solar lighting it is the patio area where solar patio lights can really make a difference to the feel and ambience of the area. The patio is the area of your home that gets a load of use especially during warm, summer evenings.
It is the perfect place to hold those special gatherings for friends, neighbours and family etc. Parties and barbecues are the main attraction to the patio and they often carry on into the hours of darkness.
So why not lighten up that area of your property with some fantastic, modern solar patio lights that will turn your patio into your number one target for a really good time, with reliable and highly aesthetically pleasing lighting fixtures that are powered by the sun.
The Commonly Held Albeit Erroneous Belief
Many people still get an image in their heads of solar patio lighting as being a collection of dull, yellow bulbs barely able to light up the paving blocks on your pathway let alone a large patio area, but think again. Solar patio lights have in fact come on a long way from the older, dull and feeble yellow glow that used to characterise these lights.
But that was several years ago. Nowadays, with advancements in LED technology and better battery storage capacity, these lamps are bright, vibrant and of course still free from the costs and encumbrances of your power company and their ever rising electricity bills.
So let's take a better look at some of the many advantages that can be had from installing solar patio lighting around your outdoor space.
The Benefits of Solar Patio Lighting
There are of course many great benefits of having solar patio lights installed on your property, so here we'll take a look at some of these.
To begin with, one great benefit of having solar lighting installed on your patio is the fact that by their very nature, you are freed from the vicelike grip of the power company and their electric bills. After the initial purchase cost is paid for, when solar lights are installed on your property they never draw any electricity from the mains power supply and therefore will never cost you a penny more in fuel bills.
Let's face it, the installation is one of the things you can easily manage by yourself as these lights are easy to site, have no electrical wiring to fiddle with and therefore there is no danger of getting an electric shock. They are constructed as fully enclosed units and installation is little more than either jamming them into the soil with the attached spike, or you can screw them to a wall, pergola, pole or even to a patio floor slab.
That's all you have to do!
Another major benefit is that should there be a power cut in your area (and let's face it, this is something that happens from time to time), solar patio lights will keep right on shining, power or no power! That's right, so that when you notice your neighbours are kicking up a commotion because they've been plunged into darkness, your own barbecue or patio party will continue on uninterrupted.
You'll soon make friends with all your neighbours during a power cut cause you can invite them all round to join you and your party in the light!
If you want to take a less than savoury look at this aspect of having solar lights running on your patio, think about another aspect of a power cut at night. When the lights go out in any neighbourhood, the shadier side of the community swings into action and burglars will be out in force getting busy scoping out potential targets under the cover of their convenient spate of darkness.
But this will not happen to a house that is amply protected by the brilliance of external house lights that powered by the sun. Your own patio and the surrounding property remains illuminated all night and every night and that is the beauty of this type of lighting being worth its weight in pure gold.
How Do Solar Patio Lights Work?
These solar patio lights all work on the simple principle of making use of the power radiated by the sun to create electricity using small photovoltaic panels, which are often generalized in name as solar panels. These panels consist of an array of small, modified silicone cells that when light form any strong light source, such as the sun falls on them, they convert it into a small, usually 2 volt electrical current.
The array of cells is wired up to create whatever voltage you need, usually 12 volt but lower voltages are used by the individual fixed units of usually 3 volts which is sufficient to charge up the small rechargeable batteries that are connected to them and stored within the unit. As the strong light from the sun hits the panel, electricity is generated that flows to the batteries which store it for use when the sun goes down.
The batteries inside the unit are generally large enough to hold sufficient charge to power the lighting unit's LED bulb for the duration of the hours of darkness. This is dependent of course on it getting sufficient sunshine to fall on its photovoltaic panel throughout the day.
With the majority of modern solar patio lighting units, several hours are usually needed to provide a full charge depending upon the LED bulb's power rating and the size and configuration of the solar panel itself. Modern lights are generally sized to generate more power than they would actually need under normal operation, but two or three days of heavy cloud cover will reduce each unit's effectiveness.
There is a backup plan for this kind of occurrence, as most solar lighting units can be opened up to allow the removal of the internal rechargeable batteries. So if you get a few days of stubborn cloud cover the batteries can simply be popped into a household battery recharging unit during the day to top them up so that they will provide all the lighting you will need overnight.
There are also larger solar lighting systems that work on a slightly different principle to the individual lighting units that are popular and have dropped considerably in price in recent years. A larger system can comprise hooking up an array of several 12 volt lighting units together to a sizeable central battery or battery array that is independently recharged by using a larger photovoltaic solar panel rated to provide a much higher output.
This kind of system is better for large installations as it can provide sufficient power for running much brighter lights and in some cases even high power floodlights. As with the smaller units, these big solar systems are powered by the sun which charges the central battery, which can also be similarly charged up from the mains supply using a larger battery charger such as that used for a car battery, if the weather is bad for more than a few days at a time.
So you can see that solar patio lights make a really great investment for both the illumination of your home's patio space without having the encumbrances of messy wiring and the added danger of connecting directly to mains electricity. It also creates a security lighting provision that will give you peace of mind and of course free light if and when the power company has to shut off the grid power for any reason.
Written by: Webmaster