There’s never been a better time to switch to solar lights. With more enthusiasm behind “going green” and turning to alternative energy sources than ever before, the significant long-term cost savings that solar-lighting investments bring and the increasingly beautiful solar-lamp options that are now available, more consumers and businesses alike are ready to make the move.
Businesses, in particular, are turning to solar as a long-term investment, reliable energy source, environmentally friendly alternative and long-term cost-saving measure. Many office buildings, resorts, spas, country clubs, shopping centers and more are switching to efficient, attractive outdoor solar lighting to keep their buildings well-lit at night, while reducing their electricity bills and establishing go-green practices for their respective businesses.
Still, for those that are new to solar energy and outdoor solar lighting, making this switch can often seem intimidating at first. Many businesses and organizations considering switching to solar lights ask themselves questions like “How long does it take for solar lights to charge?” “Do solar lights need direct sunlight?” or “Can solar lights stay out in the winter?”
These are relevant questions, especially for people or businesses just starting out with solar lighting. The best way to address all these questions and concerns is to understand how solar lights work, how to charge them, how to preserve outdoor solar lamps and their batteries and, ultimately, how to get the best usage out of them.
There are, essentially, five main tips when it comes to successfully using, caring for and enjoying outdoor solar lighting.
#1 – Carefully Consider Placement
When investing in solar lights, it’s critical to first consider where best to place them (and any associated solar panels) to maximize the sunlight they’ll receive, thereby getting the best possible light output. Solar lights need sunlight to receive and convert energy, so it’s vital they are placed in a way to receive optimal sunshine throughout the day and away from shady or semi-shady areas. Optimally, solar lights will be positioned in an outdoor space where they are able to receive between six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day.
Keep solar lamps and panels far away from any bushes, trees, or outside décor that could potentially block sunlight or create shade over these fixtures at any point in the day. Any trees, walls or overhanging roofs that could add to shade hitting solar lights or panels, thus lowering their output, should be mitigated, as well.
Ideally, outdoor solar lamps solar lamps should be positioned in a way where the panels have a tilt angle of about 30 degrees in the summer and 45 degrees during winter months. Such outdoor solar lamps with built-in panel fixtures and any larger solar panels should always be facing south.
#2 – Properly Clean and Maintain Solar Lighting
It’s crucial that all solar lamps and any corresponding fixtures or parts are kept clean. As much as reasonably possible, dirt and debris should be kept off solar lamps and panels to ensure accumulation of dirt doesn’t block sunlight from getting through.
The best way to clean solar panels is with a dry cloth and warm, soapy water. For extremely stubborn debris or mud, a soft-bristled brush may be required.
Many lamps and fixtures can be cleaned in this manner, but it depends on the material of the solar lamps. If there are fixtures made of teak, the teak can be lightly sanded and a thin layer of teak oil used. Lamps made from aluminum, carbon steel or a weathered teak finish should receive no cleaning or maintenance to those materials, except for occasional dusting or removing debris.
If individuals or businesses with solar lighting live in an area where it snows, solar lights can certainly stay out in the winter and even in inclement weather. But any snow must be cleared, so it does not build up and block sunlight.
Ultimately, users should ask the company from which they’ve purchased their solar lighting for the best recommendations on how to properly clean it.
#3 – Keep Solar Lights Safe and Avoid Obstructions
When placing or mounting solar lights, it’s important to make sure they are safe, secure and not in the way of any obstructions. Outdoor solar lighting should not be placed in the direct route of pedestrians, lawnmowers or bicyclists, as well as anyone or anything else that could knock over or destroy solar lamps or associated fixtures.
Being proactive and thoughtful on placement and keeping lights out of walkways or work routes is key. By ensuring the path is safe and clear, users will protect their solar lamps and prevent unnecessary damage.
#4 – Know How to Charge and Care for the Batteries
When charging solar lights for the first time, they must be charged fully before they can truly be used. After this, the lamps usually require between 12 to 14 hours of direct sunlight to be completely charged and ready for use.
The best way to charge outdoor solar lighting is by leaving it in a sunny place for at least 48 hours, so batteries are thoroughly charged. This can be done before they’re officially mounted or placed in their final spot, just to ensure batteries are 100% charged before use.
Solar lighting batteries typically last from one to three years before they need replacement, although users that live in areas with long winters or extreme weather conditions may want to change batteries every year for maximum capacity and optimal usage.
Signs that batteries need replacement include:
– Lights that are lit for much shorter durations, despite receiving a lot of sunlight throughout the day
– Fainter illumination from solar lamps
– Solar lights that suddenly stop working altogether
It’s important to keep these factors in mind when it comes to properly caring for solar lamps and their batteries. Users should stay on top of how well lights are working, the status of their batteries and whether batteries require replacement.
#5 – If Storing Them, Do So Safely and Correctly
Solar lighting made for the outdoors can be left outside year-round, including in the winter. But in the colder months, some individuals or businesses may want to bring their solar lamps inside during extremely cold or inclement weather. When storing solar lights, it’s important to:
– Store them at room temperature, in a secure and dry location.
– Store the lights where they can still receive some sunlight or artificial light each day – this ensures the battery can still receive light, maintaining a charge during storage. It is very important not to store solar lights in a box or a dark room without a source of light that can reach the solar panel. Storing them in darkness will damage the batteries and keep them from being able to hold onto charge.
– For the best performance of solar lights, do not store them for prolonged periods.
Storing solar lights according to these best practices will keep them safe and protected, while still ensuring they receive enough light to continue working when the user is ready to put them outdoors and utilize them again.
Les Jardins for Efficient, Elevated Outdoor Solar LightinG
Les Jardins is devoted to developing beautiful, modern and sustainable sources of solar-powered light. For three decades, the company has been strengthening the relationship between humans and nature with outdoor and landscape solar lighting. The team at Les Jardins builds products wisely, combining top-tier design with technology to achieve more environmental friendliness, increased efficiency and a more elevated aesthetic.
Our products include everything from decorative outdoor lighting and solar lanterns, to table lights and contemporary landscape lighting – all crafted to tear down the boundaries between luxury and value, form and function, sustained and sustainable. Of course, all Les Jardins lighting is powered by the sun, eliminating the reliance on harmful fuels and contributing to the eradication of greenhouse gas emissions.
At Les Jardins, we know the world must be protected for future generations, and it’s our generation’s responsibility to act now. Every step in this right direction lowers the planet’s carbon footprint, and we hope and believe we will play a large part in paving the way for a brighter and more enlightened future.
Discover how Les Jardins can illuminate your space, bring you closer to nature and improve your overall outdoor living experience with cutting-edge, elegant and high-efficiency solar lighting. Join us in this work of reducing our carbon footprints, preserving the planet and reconnecting ourselves back to nature. Let’s make this new, more sustainable world a reality together.
To get started, please contact our dedicated team directly here or by calling 1-833-JARDINS.