Impacts of global warming are becoming more visible and being felt everywhere. Over the last three decades, the number of climate-related disasters has tripled as per studies. With global awareness, many people are motivated to address climate change and conserve the environment and each and every one of us has a part to play. The negative effects and the high cost of non-renewable energy are a few of the primary reasons behind this sudden push.
Coal, petroleum and natural gas are our main sources of energy and a vast majority of fuel, electricity and heat used by people across the globe are produced by these fossil fuels, which unfortunately are also the key culprits behind climate change. Most of these energy resources produce carbon dioxide as a by-product and to address the repercussions of climate change on health, replacing non-renewables with renewable energy is the most relevant action.
There is a wide variety of solar products available now and how to choose the correct solar light could be very confusing if you do not know what to expect. Firstly, ask yourself these questions: How long do you need the illumination for? Will there be constant movement in the area where you are planning to get your solar light installed? Is the assigned area shadow free and does it receive direct sunlight throughout the day?
Taking everything into account, solar energy is considered the best source of renewable energy. Here we are listing out a few tips to help you understand what to look for when buying solar lights.
Type of solar light
Solar-powered products are being used both in the commercial and residential premises. Solar street light are helpful in illuminating streets, private residential areas and public institutions. Solar garden light, solar gate lights and solar flood lights can be used to highlight garden features, create ambiance and illuminate your pathways. Each solar category has different varieties of solar lights and all are unique in appearance and function.
To conserve battery life, passive infrared sensors (PIR) is included on many solar street lights. All in one solar street lights with motion sensors detect infrared radiation from moving objects and glow up to 100% and remain dim at other times. Some integrated solar street lights operate with a dimming option where they operate at full brightness for the first few hours of the night and later at around 20% of brightness. Both these features help in extending battery life and illuminating your solar lights even on non-sunny days.
Total operating hours
For different lighting requirements, different types of solar lights are available. Decorative solar lights usually work for around 4 to 5 hours. If night-long illumination is needed, you would need a light that operates from dusk to dawn at constant level of brightness. If there is less level of activity after midnight, solar lights with timer-based dimming option is the best choice. If there is less traffic or people movement at night, solar lights with motion sensors will work as security lights.
Type of solar panels
Solar panels are made of silicon cells that gather solar energy and convert it into direct electricity. Monocrystalline solar panels have higher efficiency; however, polycrystalline solar panels are more affordable and most commonly used. Most solar lights have solar panels integrated into them and for some, the panel comes as a separate unit. The size and efficiency of the panels vary depending on the type of solar lights.
Type of battery
Solar batteries vary in size, type and longevity. A reliable battery storage ensures your solar light system last for many years. Lead acid, nickel metal hydride, lithium-ion and lithium iron phosphate batteries are commonly used in solar lights. Lithium batteries are lightweight, compact and work very well for solar street lights. They also have strong resistance to temperature and have a longer lifespan.
LED is the most commonly used light source in solar lights. Lighting efficacy rating is the measurement of lumens per watt (lm/w). In other words, it is the total light output divided by input power. This rating shows how much light is generated compared to energy consumed. You may also want to know about the viewing angle, light colour and temperature and total number of LEDs used in the solar light.
Warranty and reviews
Invariably, it is essential to purchase your solar products from a reputed dealer/manufacturer. All the solar lights must come with a warranty; for example, solar panels usually come with a warranty period of 20 to 25 years and a lithium battery has a lifespan of around 5 to 6 years. Browsing through the reviews and feedbacks of other customers will help you evaluate the product. Make sure your solar components have all the necessary certifications in order to assess the product efficiency and performance.
You can definitely ask your dealer and have more understanding of the ratio between solar panel and battery. A larger milliampere hour (mAh) capacity ensures the panel is sufficient to charge the battery and the battery has enough capacity to run the light for a longer time. With good power storage, it takes less time to charge the battery fully, which in turn helps the solar lights to operate with even a few hours of sunlight.
You must also know about the controller and material used for your light fixture to understand the durability of the solar light unit. Low-priced solar products may not always be the best quality ones and it is better not to settle for cheap components. It is alright to compare prices from different manufacturers instead of settling for the first product you see. Find out about the installation techniques and if there are any extra costs towards installation.
Apart from what is mentioned above, you may have many other concerns and questions. Talk to a solar expert if you want to understand more about the specifications before making a final decision. Most of the well-known solar companies have a dedicated and qualified customer care team who could answer all your queries. You must get what you pay for, so it is absolutely alright to take your time to do some research to purchase your solar lighting units. For more solar-related information, please contact us at