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SolarTown Learning

Shedding Light On Solar Powered Lighting: How Long Will They Shine?

06-18-2010
Category: Solar Lights and Garden

Summer is in full swing and people are firing up the grill and cleaning out their pools, commencing another season of BBQs and backyard parties. With all the get-togethers going on and the weather being so nice at night the party shouldn't have to end with the sunset!

Charging Solar Lights for the First Time

Solar powered lighting has long been an option for home and garden lighting needs.To get the most out of your new solar lights must generally be fully charged before they are able to perform at their optimal capabilities. The number of hours of sunlight it takes to charge your solar lighting device will depend on how much direct sunlight they receive. We recommend charging your solar lights for one to two days before their first use. Some may be charged for shorter than that, but it will decrease the length of time they are able to perform. Of course, a few consecutive partly cloudy days or one completely dark day will usually reduce your solar lights to a dim glow after only a few hours.

Full Charge of Solar Powered Lighting

We found that the time range a solar light can operate on a full charge varies by specific product but that the overall range for all kinds of solar lighting was 4 - 12 hours with an overall average of 8.5 hours of illumination on a full charge. This range is rather large, but you can get a better idea of how long your solar garden lights will last if you know what kind of solar lighting application you plan on using. 

How Much Time for Specific Kinds of Solar Lighting

Solar path and accent lighting seems to fare better than hanging and lamp post-mounted devices with an average of 9.8 hours of illumination and a range of 7 - 12 hours. Hanging and lamp post solar lights average 7.3 hours of illumination and have a range of 4 - 12 hours. The difference in average is most likely due to placement of the solar panel and not the type of solar light. Solar ground lights may have better placement on average because some mounted devices' solar panels are shaded by eaves or other objects for part of the day.

Solar security and flood lighting is complicated by the fact that these lights don't stay on all night but rather only turn on when activated. Solar powered security lights will work best if charged for several days. Some people charge them for up to five days before first turning them on at night. This gives the batteries time to charge up to capacity so that if there is a rainy or cloudy day, the battery's reserves will be enough to last through the night. Solar security lights also differ on how long they stay illuminated with each activation. This can vary from ten seconds to up to four minutes, with longer illumination times equating to shorter overall operational time through the course of the night. Almost all solar security lights can be adjusted to shorter or longer illumination times on each activation so you can customize it to your needs.

Most solar lighting devices on the market have automatic sensors that turn the light on at dusk or can be programmed to turn on at a set time. This lets them soak up the sun's ray throughout the day and only turn on when you need them. Just a tip: make sure you check for and remove the protective plastic sheeting from the face of the solar panel before use to get the most out of your solar light.

Knowing what your solar lights can do and what they can't do will allow you to enjoy your solar lighting for many years to come.


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