Night is the time when criminals will attempt to approach your home. Security lights can help to make your home less appealing to them but with the rising cost of electricity it is hard to justify the added expense for something that might happen. This is why many people are turning to an alternative energy solution.
Solar lights work on the same principle as the solar powered calculator that people have been using for years. Solar panels collect the ambient sunlight and convert it into electricity. This power is then sent to rechargeable batteries for use in the nighttime hours. For solar security lights, the collection panels are usually a separate component that can be mounted where it will get the most direct sunlight and connected to the light by wires.
Most solar security lights are motion sensitive, meaning that they only come on when they detect motion within range of their sensors. This is very important for solar lights, as the battery power is often only capable of a 30-45 minute sustained lighting. The timer on the lights is often set to 30 seconds to one minute duration for just this reason. It is important not to install a solar security light in an area where road traffic is within the range of the sensor to avoid unnecessary use and battery drain.
Solar security lights use LED bulbs to help reduce power drain. By using 20 or more LED lights in a bank they are capable of producing as much light as a standard outdoor bulb and illuminating an area approximately 30 feet deep. The LED bulbs are long lasting, each one having the same life expectancy as several standard bulbs combined.
The main drawback to using this technology for your security purposes is the weather. They require several hours of direct sunlight each day to recharge the battery. During periods of extended overcast and storms they will not receive a full charge and will not be as bright or offer as many lightings. The panels will also have to be kept clear of snow and fallen leaves or other debris to be able to charge properly. If the individual lives in a rural area, there is also the risk that animals will activate the light multiple times during the night and drain the battery. This can also happen if trees and shrubs are within the sensor’s range during windy evenings.
Currently, solar security lights are limited to the motion sensitive variety due to the limited size of the batteries. Homeowners will still have to rely on conventional metal halide and mercury vapor lights for the areas around their home that require continuous outside lighting. In recent years exterior florescent bulbs have given homeowners a more energy efficient alternative.
Solar energy technology is constantly improving. As better battery and more sensitive solar collection panels become available, this form of security light will become more common place. In the meantime, the current state is perfect for protecting the open approaches to your home and helping you get a good night’s sleep.