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Outdoor Solar Lighting

Outdoor solar lighting is becoming a popular alternative to conventional outdoor lighting, both for its convenience of installation and for the fact that it doesn't raise your electrical bill.

However, there are some things to know about solar power outdoor lighting before you jump right in. Solar lights don't work ideally for all situations, and can be a problem if you have inconsistent sunlight exposure, install your light in a bad location, or purchase the wrong product.

Doing your homework before you buy can prevent these problems, however, and will allow you to enjoy the benefits of outdoor lights powered by the sun. Here are some tips and information about how outdoor solar lights work to help you get started.

This type of lighting is simple to install, and nearly free of maintenance requirements. In the right conditions, your lights will also provide their own electricity. The way this works is that each light contains a battery (usually lead acid, sealed lead acid, nickel-metal hydride or nickel cadmium types). The energy gathered by each light unit's solar collector panel is stored in the battery and used at night. All most all solar lights uses a LED light bulb.

These lights work in most parts of the country, but every site is different. This means that it's important to pay attention to how much sunlight each area of your property receives during the day. If your yard is heavily shaded, or sunlight isn't available every day, you might not be a good candidate for outdoor solar lighting.

In areas where some direct sunlight is available on a daily basis, however, you can install this type of light easily. Remember that winter sunlight is usually less than that available in the summer, and your lights may be dimmer or less effective during the darker months.

Most solar light systems available today are made as self-contained lighting units. The two most popular fixtures are a solar garden spot light and a solar path light.

The light has its own battery and solar panel, and each light can be installed in any place that provides enough power. However, there are also models that are connected to a main array of solar panels. These will require enough wiring to bring power to each individual light. This means that you only have to place the panels themselves in a sunny area, however. For properties with limited sunlight, these can be more effective.

You can get outdoor solar lighting in a number of different forms, from small markers for paths and sidewalks to large patio and security lights that can be mounted on poles.

Before you buy a lighting system, there are a few things to check. Make sure that replacement batteries and bulbs are available in case of failure. Some cheaper models can't be replaced, and must be thrown away when something breaks. This makes them an unsustainable option, no matter how green they appear. Look for warranties if possible. You can order or buy your lights from a number of different places.

Many hardware and home stores now carry solar lighting. Discount and specialty lighting stores also offer these outdoor lights. If they aren't available in your area, try a online company that's geared toward offering green solutions.

When you place your solar lighting, be sure to check it out in the daytime as well as at night. Foliage and other landscape features can easily shade your solar panels without being noticed, causing inconsistent or poor performance. A solar light can only provide as much illumination as it soaks up during the day.

However, properly placed, these lights can provide stiff competition for their wired cousins, without the hassle of having to dig up the yard to lay wires. They're also less subject to damage from animals, who can chew wires in conventional outdoor lighting systems. Winter can be hard on some models, so be sure to check them over to make sure that the housings and components are all in good shape after a freeze.

If you do have to replace a solar light, the modular nature of most systems is convenient. You won't need to take apart a complicated system just to repair one light. Simply take out the offending lamp, repair or replace it, and your property will be properly illuminated again.

Solar lights are a great choice for many people's outdoor lighting needs. If you've been thinking about adding a little light to your life, consider the solar option. It's convenient, environmentally friendly, and it keeps your power bill low.

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