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What's Inside a Solar Light

Outdoor solar lights come in an incredible range of designs to suit any landscaping or outdoor security purpose. These days virtually every kind of outdoor solar light fixture is available as a solar powered product, so going solar doesn’t limit your choice at all.

Solar powered lights are also very environmentally friendly because they are using free energy from the sun. They are easy to install, because you don't need to run any wires to the lights and if you don't like where the light is located it's easy to move them to a different location.

The only limitation is that they should be installed in a fairly sunny location during the day to charge. Once the energy in the battery is used up, the light turns off. If you want an outdoor area lighted for a long time and throughout the year you might want to look at low voltage lighting.

Most solar lighting fixtures come with all of the components integrated into the one unit for ease of installation. A solar powered lighting system includes:

Light Fixture

Picture of a low solar light showing the solar panel on top.Most solar lighti fixtures use an LED bulb. LED lamps emit a soft glow, which is perfect for most esthetic landscape lighting purposes. Because there is no filament, LED lights last a long time and don’t waste energy by giving off heat.

If you require a strong light, such as a security light, there are solar lighting fixtures which use the traditional incandescent halogen bulb, or a combination of an LED bulb boosted by a small halogen bulb. As LED technology improves, the need for halogen lighting is decreasing all the time.



Solar Panel

Picure of solar panel with the photovoltaic cell.The solar panel contains a photovoltaic cell, which captures energy from the sun and converts it to electricity. How much energy the solar cell collects will depend on its size, its quality, and the transparency of the cover. Choosing the optimum position for the solar panel is of course vital in determining how much solar energy it will collect.




Solar lighting fixtures come with a rechargeable battery which stores the energy collected by the solar panel until it’s needed. Many solar landscaping lights use a NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) battery rather than the standard NiCAD (nickel cadmium) battery, because they’re better suited to constant recharging. NiMH batteries are also easier to dispose of at the end of their life without damage to the environment.

Timer or Light Sensor

These are optional, but very common features of a solar outdoor lighting system. Timers and light sensors turn the lights on automatically when it’s dark. The lights will generally turn off again when the battery runs out of energy.


How Solar Lights Work

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