Exterior Solar Lighting Advantages & Disadvantages
Solar landscape lighting is a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to enhance your gardens and walkways. They have a lot of advantages, including running cost and limited maintenance, but they have some disadvantages as well. Before illuminating your landscape with solar lights, consider the pros and cons to ensure that solar is the kind of light you’re looking for.
Most modern solar landscape lights are wireless with everything necessary to run the light contained within the unit. Installation usually requires that you stick the attached spike into the ground, although there are units that may mount on walls or posts. A solar panel is often installed in the top of the light, with a battery in the body. The only installation issue is ensuring that you place them in an area that gets adequate sunlight to charge the battery.
Solar power is free energy and as long as solar landscape lights can charge in direct sunlight, they’ll work problem-free, automatically turning off after dusk. However, a major inconvenience with solar lighting is its reliance on weather conditions. Partial shade or poor lighting due to overcast skies or rain can result in a low light output or a shorter running time. There is little homeowners can do in these circumstances, so on these nights the lights simply don’t operate as well as they normally would.
A major advantage of using solar lighting outdoors is that they cost nothing to operate. Solar lights don’t require electricity for power, so this can save you money in the long term. The initial cost for a quality solar landscape fixture can be high, but this cost is typically recouped over time as you pay nothing in energy costs to run the lights.
Solar landscape lighting needs little maintenance. LED solar bulbs have a service life of up to 20,000 hours, and because the systems are self-contained, they need only a quick wipe periodically to clean away moisture, dirt or debris. Changing the battery periodically is also necessary.
One considerable drawback with solar landscape lights is that some of them are not as bright as electric fixtures. The average solar path light delivers about as much light as a 40-watt light bulb. Solar landscape lights provide ambient lighting, which tends toward a bluish hue. This makes use as security lighting limited, but solar lighting is ideal for garden paths and creating ambiance in a garden space.
There are brighter solar lights available, but brightness typically requires more power, so these typically only last a couple of hours, while dimmer lights can illuminate a space throughout the night.