These days, no one really doubts that the exhaustion of non-renewable energy sources and insatiable demand for it is harming our planet and unless we switch to more alternative sources, the future generations will have to face various environmental struggles which can also cause serious political and social problems. Luckily, the picture of the future is not all that gray and ugly, and scientists and engineers are doing a great job in coming up with different alternative solutions.
One of such great alternatives is solar energy. In many countries solar technologies are on the rise which is a very satisfactory trend to observe. Since solar power has so many advantages and usage of solar energy is actively promoted by state incentives, more and more people are making the decision to abandon the electricity produced by major companies and go for alternative energy sources. Out of numerous options, solar power is the cheapest and easiest one, suitable to meet the needs of households of various sizes.
The statistics of solar panel market could not be more promising as well. In 2014, U.S. department of energy reported that since the beginning of 2010, the average cost of solar PV panels has dropped more than 60% and the cost of a solar electric system has dropped by around 50%. These are great news since solar energy now is not just exclusive to people with high income and it is definitely becoming more and more available. Solar energy can be used to produce power for whole household or to run smaller units such as your outdoor lighting.
The principle of how solar lighting works is very simple and it can be used in various ways and forms such as streetlight, lamp posts, lanterns, decorative lights, motion detector lights. Solar lighting has unlimited source (the Sun), it is environmentally friendly plus it will significantly reduce your electric bills and save your money. As mentioned, market that sells anything solar-related is expanding which might annoy you a bit once it comes to making the best and efficient solution out of all the choices. As for solar lighting, the main aspects you should look at are the quality of fixture, panel types and types of lamps. This time, our article will solely focus on the third one.
Although there are various options available for solar lighting, by far, LED lighting is the best of all of them. There are numerous reasons why to choose LED lighting over any other types of solar lighting sold in the market:
1. It is the most energy efficient of all the options.
Simple math can be done to justify this statement. Let’s take comparison with halogen lamps. Standard 50W halogen lamp turns 90% of electricity used into heat with only 10% into light whereas LED lights not only uses 15% of energy a standard halogen requires but also provides up to 85% of light output producing more light but less heat. In terms of solar lighting, this means that you will need less of sunlight to be able to run your LED lighting during the darkest hours and the chance of your lighting panels not being able to produce enough energy to ensure lighting is the lowest in the case of LED. In fact, this is the main consideration why LED solar lighting dominates the market and has become top-choice among solar lighting enthusiasts.
2. It has compact size and elegant design.
Solar lighting as every lighting is not just about functionality but also about aesthetics and LED can ensure great combination of these two qualities. LED lamps are produced small and hence they are great choice for solar lighting which sometimes can be as little as small-size light meant for illuminating your pathway during the night-time. LEDs look modern and unobtrusive, yet ascribe very sophisticated and functional look to different type of solar lights.
3. LEDs have very long life expectancy.
Although one should not forget about maintenance part of solar lighting systems (cleaning, repairment, quality control etc.), using LED lights means that you will not have to think much about replacement of lamps. LEDs have really long lifespan (up to 50 000 hours) which is 30 times longer than incandescent bulbs and 5 times longer than CFLs. However keep in mind that there are several factors that might decrease the light expectancy of LED lamps and hence think about these aspects as well if you want to get the most out of your solar lighting:
- Inappropriate fitting type;
- Poor electronics;
- Environmental factors (e.g. heat, lack of airflow).
4. LEDs are very durable.
As mentioned, outdoor solar lights are exposed to different environmental factors such as heat, wind and falling objects that can damage your lamps which means that you should opt for the most durable of options. LEDs are not made of glass plus they are hollow inside. This makes them more durable than any other type of lamp increasing the chance that your solar lighting will withstand harsh conditions and you will not have to worry about repairment or maintenance every time there is a bad weather outside. LED lights are resistant to vibrations, external impacts and shock and therefore they are perfect choice for different solar outdoor lighting types.
5. LEDs can ensure directionality.
Very few people talk about this benefit of LED lighting but actually it does make a change once you go for solar outdoor lighting. LEDs only give out light in one direction whereas other types of lamps have omnidirectional light output. To put it in simpler terms, LEDs lose comparatively little light into the back of lighting fixture which means that it has increased performance. The specifics of LED also enable to adjust the degree of how the light is being spread and hence high-quality solar LED fixtures can be directed where needed according to the purpose of the light.