Solar lighting allows users to create a well-lit and sustainable environment, without compromising their desire for an elevated aesthetic. Many individuals and businesses turn to solar lamps to achieve serene, stylish outdoor lighting, ensure environmental-friendliness, reduce electric bills or mitigate the need for excessive electrical wiring. Increasingly, outdoor solar lighting is seen at resorts, country clubs, shopping districts, corporate offices and government buildings, as well as in front and backyards, gardens, poolside settings, patios and more.
As this lighting continues to grow in popularity and prevalence, many users and potential users are wondering how long do solar lights last, as well how best to get solar lights to work well consistently. Others wonder how long rechargeable batteries last when it comes to solar lighting.
It’s critical for users to understand and then implement the best methods for enhancing performance and extending lifespan, so they get solar lights that last all night.
Solar Lighting 101
Solar lighting systems utilize solar cells, specifically photovoltaic (PV) cells, which absorb energy from sunlight, converting that energy into an electrical charge that moves throughout the panel – whether that panel is its own solar panel or an internal panel on a lighting fixture. The solar cells have wires that connect to a battery, which converts and then stores the power it receives into chemical energy until it needs to be used.
Later on, when it’s dark, a photoreceptor detects this darkness, and the battery uses the stored energy to power a light-emitting diode (LED) bulb. The diode in the LED bulb is a type of semiconductor that ensures electrons can move between two different points, creating electromagnetic energy. The electromagnetic energy becomes light when night has fallen. This creates well-lit areas for those utilizing an outdoor space or passing by.
But not all solar lamps are the same, and not all users have the information they need to boost solar-lighting performance and ensure a long lifespan.
Enhancing Solar-Light Performance
Solar lights are just that – they are lights powered by the sun. It’s critical that a few key steps are taken to ensure solar lighting functions properly and solar lights stay on at night.
Here are a few of the best ways to enhance solar-lighting performance.
Be Strategic in Solar-Light Placement
One of the top priorities to consider with solar lighting is where it is placed. To maximize the energy solar panels (or lamps with internal solar panels) receive from the sun, it’s vital to be strategic with their location, considering where natural sunlight is strongest. The longer a panel stays under direct sunlight, the longer the battery charge.
Solar-lighting users will sometimes believe their lights are not working well, but it simply comes down to the panels not charging properly due to poor placement without enough sunlight.
Panels should be kept out of shady or semi-shady areas. Instead, they should be situated in areas where, on average, they can receive several hours of sunlight daily.
Remove Any Obstructions
In addition to being strategic with solar-light and panel placement, it’s crucial to move any items that could obstruct units, so they can receive plenty of direct sunlight and have the charge they need to stay on all night . Users should avoid installing panels or lamps that are too close to trees, tall bushes, walls or rooftops, which can create shade and prevent lights from getting the solar power they need.
Charge the Batteries Before Use
When a user first receives their solar lamps, it’s important that they charge the batteries before they ever begin using the lights. To ensure batteries are well charged and can emit enough light at night, expose the solar lights or panels directly to the sun for multiple hours. Once they have several hours of charge from the sun, the solar lights will be able to last for all or most of the night.
Swap Out Batteries When Needed
To keep up the performance and overall functioning of solar lighting, batteries should be checked every so often and then swapped out with new batteries at regular intervals. Typically, rechargeable batteries need to be swapped out at least every two years, but some may last longer than that.
Oftentimes, it becomes obvious that batteries need to be replaced when lights are stay on for shorter durations of time at night, when illumination from the solar lights becomes more faint or when the lights suddenly stop working.
Give Your Solar Lamps a Break Once in A While
Every once in a while, when solar lights are already charging, it is a good idea for users to switch them off with the manual switch. Then, users can allow them to get a full charge over the course of two to three days. This is especially ideal when there are a few sunny days in a row, and the user doesn’t need the the solar light to operate for a couple nights.
Invest in High-Quality Lights
Performance levels can also come down to the quality of the solar lights, panels and fixtures in question. By investing in those that are of a higher quality and built to last, users will be able to get longer-lasting solar lights, as well as much more enhanced lighting performance on a more consistent basis.
Extending Solar-Light Lifespan
While the lifespan of a solar light is impacted by the type of light and the respective lifespan of each of its components, there are other ways to preserve the lamp for a long period of time.
Here are a few of the most critical steps to take to extend the lifespan of solar lighting.
Check and Clean Solar Lighting Regularly
Dirt, dust and debris on solar panels or lamps can be very detrimental, as it can block sunlight and prevent the lamp from getting a full charge. It can also affect the light’s overall quality over time. Ideally, lamps and panels will be brushed clean of any loose debris, then gently cleaned every so often with a dry cloth and warm soapy water. The best time for cleaning solar panels and lamps is early or late in the day, when the fixtures are less hot.
Do Not Let Batteries Go Uncharged for Long Periods of Time
It’s vital to not let solar-light batteries go too long without being charged by sunlight. If batteries are uncharged for long durations, they can start to degrade over time. These long periods without any charge can even lead to issues for the overall light fixture.
Turn Off Solar Lights When It’s Rainy
When it’s rainy or about to rain, especially for many hours or days in a row, it’s recommended that users manually turn off their solar lights. This helps extend the battery life and preserves the lifespan of the solar lights. Certainly, there may be times when users do not want to turn off solar lights for a porch when it is dark-and-rainy during the day, but whenever possible, it helps to turn them off and preserve battery life.
Take Solar Lamps Inside When There is Inclement Weather
To be especially protective of solar lights, users can turn them off and take them inside during inclement weather conditions, such as snowstorms, severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or even very heavy raining. This prevents unnecessary physical damage to the lighting.
Remove Unnecessary Risks
As a user is mounting their outdoor solar lamps and fixtures, it’s important that units are not placed in the route of lawnmowers or too close to a driveway. All solar lights should be affixed or installed in a way where they are secure and not too close to walkways, where they could be walked over or accidentally moved or damaged. By positioning solar lighting in the path of any of these unnecessary risks, lighting can easily be knocked down, broken or driven over by a lawnmower or car.
Conduct Regular Checks of Solar Lights
Users should conduct regular checks on their solar lights and all relevant fixtures to catch any potential issues or damages, even if they are small. This helps in preventing larger issues and helps ensure a longer solar-lighting lifespan.
Convert to Solar with Les Jardins
At Les Jardins, we believe that one’s connection with space and light illuminates the path to joy and timelessness. We specialize in a wide variety of high-quality solar panels and outdoor solar-powered lamps, table lights, lanterns, architectural lights and lightscaping, all while putting a special focus on cutting-edge style and modern design. We push the limits of technology to improve the outdoor living experience.
We ensure all our solar lamps generate between 300 to 500 lumens of warm light (300K), depending on the specific lighting piece. Our LED lights come in a variety of gradients, which can be brightened or dimmed to one’s liking or specific needs.
Find our entire list of solar-powered lamps, panels and products here. If you would like to learn more about our wide range of solar-lighting options, fill out our contact form, or call us at 1-833-JARDINS.