How to Get More Value Out of Your Solar Lights

Having solar lights to illuminate the outdoor spaces is just great, be it functional solar street light or decorative solar garden light.  Solar-powered lights use free solar energy to light up an area or accentuate a landscape design and require little maintenance.  Choosing a good quality solar brand is very important if you want your solar lights to last long.  If well cared for, the lifespan and performance of your outdoor solar lights can be improved.  Here are some tips to get the maximum out of your solar lights:

Choose the right location

In order to optimize your solar lights’ performance and to have the panels fully charged, it is important to place the lights in an area where they receive 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day, especially during the middle of the day.  Tall trees, walls, other buildings and roofs can cause shading, hence pay attention to install the lights in a shadow-free area.  Since the panels require sunlight to generate electricity, even if one solar cell is shaded, it can affect the energy generated by the neighbour cells and lower the overall output.  The orientation and angle of solar panels also play an important role in the light output.  If your solar light has separate panel unit, it can be tilted at an angle and adjusted to make the most of the sun.

Keep the solar panels clean

Solar lights need hardly any maintenance mainly because they do not have any moving parts.  However, the panels may start to accumulate dust and dirt over time, compromising the efficiency of your lights.  According to studies, dirty panels can cause a 5% to 20% decline in output over the course of a year.  When you find that your lights are not working as they once did, it is recommended to clean the panels.  The battery may not charge properly if dust and debris block sunlight from reaching the panel.  Gently wiping the surface with a damp cloth or brushing off any loose debris will do the trick.

Use good quality solar panel

Solar panel efficiency also depends on the temperature levels; for instance, polycrystalline solar panels do better in warmer temperatures than monocrystalline panels. Solar panels consist of multiple solar cells which help in converting solar energy into usable electricity. However, a solar panel cannot change all of the solar energy it receives into electricity.  Hence, the efficiency of a panel is percentage of solar energy hitting the panels that the solar cells actually convert into electricity.  Average solar cell efficiency is around 20% although not all panels are produced the same.  The type, material and structure of a panel determine its efficiency.  Choosing the most efficient models is crucial if you want the best results.

Charge your batteries and replace when necessary

New solar lights need to be fully charged for around 12 to 14 hours before you install them.  Lithium batteries usually last from 3 to 5 years and sometimes longer depending on the usage.  The batteries need to be replaced after their lifespan for the lights to perform well.  If your lights stay on for shorter durations at night or when they suddenly stop functioning, you need to check the batteries and replace if necessary.  Solar lights with energy-saving features end up conserving energy, thereby extending the life of the battery.

Solar lights are designed to switch off automatically sensing sunlight with the help of light sensors that detect surrounding light levels.  Therefore, when you place your solar lights near any other bright light sources, your lights may not work properly.  If the winter is harsh at your location or you are going away for a long time and if you wish to store your solar garden lights indoors, make sure you store them in a dry location at room temperature where they can receive some amount of sunlight.  If the batteries do not charge and discharge regularly, it will affect the lifespan of the batteries.  It is always preferred to not store the lights for prolonged periods and if you have to, do not keep them in a dark room without a source of light on the panel.  With the help of these simple tips, you will get years of use out of your solar street lights, solar garden lights, solar gate lights, solar flood lights, etc.