Should I Choose Stand Alone Or Component Solar Lights?
If you drive down an average street in any suburb at night, you will see small lamps illuminating driveways, gardens, and the deck areas of houses. Compact solar lights have gained immense popularity over the past decade, and with advances in technology, they are now convenient and affordable enough for many different applications around the home.
Although the garden is still the most common place to see solar lights, they can also be a great way to light up a car port, a barbecue area, or even as budget security lighting.
Small stand alone solar lights are convenient and easy to install
Essentially all solar lights operate in much the same way:
1. A solar collector, lined with specially treated silicone compounds converts sunlight into electric current during the day time.
2. The current is fed gradually into a battery to store the energy
3. When it gets dark the electrical energy is gradually released again, into a light globe or LED to provide illumination.
There are two main configurations of solar lighting systems. The most common type is the stand alone, or fully integrated light (these are the kind you can just poke into a garden bed, they have a small solar collector on top of each lamp). These stand alone light s are great for their simplicity – there is nothing to go wrong, and no complicated set up is required. Because there is no wiring or other connection involved with these lamps, you have the freedom to set them up wherever you want to. They could be as far away from the house as you like, and they are ideal for very long driveways. The only limitation of stand-alone solar lights is that, by virtue of their design, they are only equipped with a relatively small solar collector and a fairly small battery. This means that during winter when climates where it the amount of sunlight is limited during the day there may not be enough energy collected and stored at how the lamp or might long. However, on the whole integrated solar lights remain the simplest and most popular option when it comes to solar garden lighting.
The second configurations you may find is that of a separate solar collector, storage, and lighting system. In these larger systems a separate solar panel is placed at a advantage point where it will collect maximum sunlight during the day. This solar panel will then be wired to a separate storage bank (this may consist of numerous batteries for greater storage), from where individual cables will be run to light globes or LED lamps as required. Clearly this type of system is more complicated, and it is generally advisable to have it installed a licensed electrician or experienced handyman. Although the necessity of running wires and cables to individual lamps makes for a more involved process, this type of component solar light system has the ability power brighter lamps for much longer. Component system such as this may also be integrated with a mains power supply, which can step into power lamps when insufficient energy has neglected during the daytime. A component system can be significantly more expensive than purchasing individual solar lamps, but many people choose a component solar system as a means of security lighting or in areas where mains power is either unavailable or unreliable.
The vast majority of people will find that a set of basic stand-alone solar lights is more than sufficient for Garden, patio, or driveway lighting. The majority of these solar lights now employ energy efficient LED technology which allows the lamps to produce brighter light for much longer than was possible using incandescent globes. It is highly advisable for anybody seeking a larger solar set up to consult an electrician or licensed installer before purchasing one of these systems, is a cost involved can be significant. Large solar collectors and battery banks represent a significant investment, and need to be fitted and set up correctly.