When solar energy is utilized for providing light, the lights used are referred to as solar lights. In the case of solar lights, the heat energy present in the sun is converted into electric energy, which is ultimately used to power the lights. Solar lighting is an efficient way to reduce your electricity bills, and solar power lights are undoubtedly more environmental friendly than regular lights.
Lights using solar energy are generally made from a standard set of fairly basic components. These components are solar panels or sensors, which absorb the heat dissipated by the sun and convert it into electric energy. For getting the best solar lights, you need to select the components properly before you actually assemble them for functioning. The selection of the components must be based on the amount of electricity you require, and off course the amount of sunlight, you get in your respective location.
If where you live doesn’t get lots of sunlight, you are going to need to spend a lot more money selecting better components that have higher absorption capacity . The basic rule is, the higher your requirement for electricity, the greater your need to use good quality components.
Benefits of Using Solar Lighting Systems
Using a solar lighting system has several benefits over simple electric bulbs – and the most important of all is almost negligible cost. The overall cost of a solar lighting system is first the components used to construct the system, and second the costs incurred on the annual maintenance of these components.
After the initial expense of installation, the maintenance costs compared with the electricity bill you pay will always be a meager amount. On top of cost savings, this type of lighting is environmentally friendly as we are using the natural and renewable source of energy from the sun.
On the other hand, when we’re using coal based electricity we are contributing to the depletion of natural resources and an increase in the effects of global warming, this is another reason why solar lighting systems are called environmental friendly.
Besides these three main points, there is yet another reason why solar energy is preferred for lights, and that is, you will never be affected by power cuts. Power cuts are not a major problem in the developed world I know, but it is one that still plagues many people in the developing world. Therefore, even if your city is facing frequent load shedding, the solar energy will keep your home lighted up.
Today solar energy is being utilized for not only lights inside your house but also as outdoor solar lights. In fact, the string lights, which you use to decorate your gardens and trees, are also available in the form of solar string lights. Moreover, you can also see that your backyard or patio lights are not making a big hole in your pocket, by using solar yard and patio lights.
Components Used in Solar Lighting
General components used in these lights converting solar energy into electric energy do not require much effort and hence no such elaborate components are required to do so. Generally, any item utilizing solar energy will have a casing made of several materials such as copper, stainless steel or plastic. A solar panel is kept in the sunlight to absorb the heat from the sun while the light sensor senses the heat energy and the converter immediately converts it in to electric energy. Similarly an LED is required which is used in place of an electric bulb or you can even use a simple fluorescent tube.
For better results, the solar panels must be sited in the area where they can receive maximum exposure to sunlight. So plan the placement of your solar panels well in advance to avoid any problem.
Today sunlight is being utilized for a variety of purposes other than lighting; cooking using sunlight for instance is an even older concept than producing light.
Types of Solar Lights
One form of lights using solar energy are outdoor lights, which you can easily fix in your garden or backyard. These outdoor solar lights are also available using regular bulbs or in LED form, which you can directly put in sun and use at night. This type of solar LED light comes with its own built-in mini solar panel.
Solar driveway lights are another form of lights using solar energy and are generally used on driveways, roads and highways. Unlike the common lights, which we see on roads, these do not require complex wiring and heavy maintenance, instead these lights are just put on the poles, and they are left to absorb solar energy during daytime and use the same energy to emit light at night.
Solar string lighting is a relatively newer type of light in this category and uses the same concept that is used in other lights based on solar energy. However, it has a great advantage over traditional string lights, in that is it can be used for decorating your homes and gardens without any extra cabling or electric costs. In fact, if you search in the market you will see that manufacturers are coming up with variety of colored lights in different shapes and sizes as in case of regular string lights that use standard electricity.
In my opinion, we are at a stage where solar lights can be thought of as providing a complete lighting solution for our homes, both inside and outside. While using the lights you are very free from worrying about the bill as well as other electricity related problems and even the hazards like electric shock. Hence apart from being environmental friendly this lighting system is 100% reliable and safe to be used at your homes.