The sunburnt country of Australia is the perfect location to harness the power of solar energy. Discovered in 1839 by Alexandre Edmond Becquere, solar power is the conversion of light into electricity via photovoltaics. However, according to Energy Matters, it wasn’t until 100 years later in 1941 that Russell Ohl invented the solar cell.
Now, solar energy is a common way for the average Australian the power their homes. Domestically, solar power is used in Australian homes to reduce energy costs and provide families with a green source of electricity. However, one of the most well-known solar-powered products is solar garden lights.
Solar garden lights are clever little creations that absorb solar energy through the day, store it, then use it at night to light your front garden path or driveway.
“Solar garden lighting is a great way to add light to spaces where the cost and ability to install conventional electrical lighting is prohibitive,” says Denise Hammond, product knowledge specialist at Beacon Lighting. “Solar garden lights are low maintenance, DIY, and assist in energy conservation, lessen your carbon footprint and are portable for those who may rent. In fact, I use mine to take away when camping and enjoying our great outdoors.”
How does a solar garden light work?
Most models of lights use a single solar cell which produces a low voltage, and a varying amount of current depending on the size of the cell and the amount of light striking the surface.
The solar cells are wired directly to a battery through a diode, which prevents the battery's current from flowing back through the solar cell at night. During the day, the battery charges, then at night, the solar cells stop producing power and a photoresistor turns on the LED light that is your solar garden light.
Solar garden lights are cost efficient
One of the best advantages to solar outdoor lights is that they are very cost-efficient. “Most solar garden lights are DIY, so you don’t have to worry about high installation costs, and provide good general lighting,” says Denise. “Many solar powered lights now feature a Passive Infrared Sensor, which is an electronic sensor that measures and detects infrared light,” says Denise. “The sensor detects the changes in light and at Dusk the sensor detects the lowering of the light, switching the light on, then at dawn, as the surrounding level of light increases, it switches the light off - thus saving the Battery life.”
Solar garden lights are safe
According to Denise, solar garden lights only require 12volt to function, which is safer voltage. “It’s been ‘stepped down’ by the use of a transformer or driver, and is generally used for DIY appliances that are plugged into a power point or General Power Outlet.”
You can find 12volt in electric toy train and car sets, livestock fences, and household batteries. 12volt lighting is a much safer choice if you have children or pets and want to avoid the use of convention electrical wires. If your area has power outages, you don’t need to worry about darkness because you can rely on your solar garden lights to provide light without electricity.
“There many kinds of solar outdoor lights available nowadays that come in attractive, classy designs and styles to suit your home and personal taste.” Denise Hammond, product knowledge specialist
How can solar garden lights be used?
Solar outdoor garden lights come in various sizes and styles to suit your lighting needs in various locations, and can be used as path lights, patio or garden lights, and even by your pool. “When used in gardens and outdoor areas, solar outdoor lights can also provide excellent aesthetic value,” says Denise. “You can use the light to highlight certain areas in your garden and give focal points to outdoor areas.”
How do you choose a solar garden light?
Consider the features and spaces that require lighting or highlighting: a path or steps, a tree or shrub, perhaps a water feature or sculpture.
Most solar garden lights feature a robust ‘spike’, meaning that they can be placed into soil, sand and other friable materials and placed moved and moved again as often as required as desired.
What should you lookout for when buying solar garden lights?
Denise recommends assessing each light for quality, and explains that you generally get what you pay for. Cheap nd cheeful solar lights from budget stores are fine for a season bur rarely work long after.
“Make your solar lighting purchase from a reputable lighting store, which offers a written warranty of at least 12months,” says Denise.
How much do solar garden lights cost?
A quality solar garden light may cost up to $70.00 each.
Who are the most reputable brands for solar garden lights?
Purchase your solar garden lights from a reputable lighting store if you’re looking to invest in quality items, or head to your local hardware store for a cheap and cheerful options to see you through a couple months.
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