solar outdoor lighting

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Light your outdoor areas using solar power.

     If you spend time outdoors after dark, you know how helpful lighting can be, and I am not just talking about a flashlight. If you don’t have power to some of your buildings, or far stretches of the yard this becomes very difficult. The answer, solar power, you may not be able to afford to take the entire house off grid, but solar lighting will not break the bank.

     I love the little solar pathway lights. You can buy them for as cheap as a dollar in most big box stores. They are easy to install and go from one spot to another without much hassle.  I have even used them as night lights for scared kids when the power was out.solar light

Lets take a look at the makeup of these lights, they are pretty simple.  All solar systems have a few things in common, even the small ones. You need a solar panel which produces the electricity, a battery to store the electricity (so you can use it when you need to), and a way to use the electricity, in this case it is a light.

     This little light has a small solar panel on top of it. It is a photovoltaic panel, just a very small one. It does a good job in order to run the single LED that needs powered.solar light lid
     The panel sends the power to a battery. You really don’t need the light when the sun is out so the battery is where the power goes till the sun goes down. Once the sun fades there is a little photo sensor that sends the power to the LED and turns it on.Solar light battery

The light that these little things put off is not great, but it beats trying to deal with pitch black when you need to check on an animal. There are other options to provide much more light for you, but as the light output goes up so goes the price.

solar flood light

This solar flood light  has a much larger solar panel and uses AA batteries so in a pinch you could also use it to charge some AA batteries for you. You are going to pay anywhere from 30 dollars up to about 200 dollars, depending on the panel size and how long the light will operate before it runs out of power. I love the fact that these units are self contained. The batteries are inside the light housing, and the panel plugs right into it.

The drawback of the unit I have is, the actual runtime of the light is a bit less than I would expect. That being said I am still using the batteries that came installed in it. I have a feeling that if I upgrade to a higher quality battery I could extend it out a bit.  From what I have read the enloop is about the best of the best as far as rechargeable batteries go so consider picking some up.

I will go into “how to set up a small solar system” in the near future when I have time to take some pictures. With the right setup you can power just about anything.

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