The list and choices of features for your solar power garden continue to expand. These solar landscape lights and solar garden fountains are easy to install, save energy, and add beauty to your home’s exterior. Want to add more lighting to your front entrance? There’s a solar product for you such as solar wall lighting. Looking for a no-power option for your backyard pond? Solar has an answer for that, too. You may want to look at solar pond fountains. With these various options, there are few reasons not to explore solar energy products for your outdoor space
Nearly every imaginable outdoor garden feature that requires energy can be run on solar power. And while burdening your monthly power bill with additional outdoor lighting and electrical devices may have seemed impractical in years past, with solar they are more accessible and affordable than ever. To give you an idea of the vast possibilities, consider the following outdoor solar product options:
- Add security to your home’s exterior with solar motion-activated security lights.
- Illuminate paths around your home with solar stepping stone lights.
- Use a solar spot light to highlight a picturesque plant or architectural feature.
- Position an attractive solar garden birdbath in your yard to attract wildlife.
- Light up your patio with sconce lighting or deck post solar lights installed on your home’s exterior.
- Place a hanging solar lantern in your trees for a fairy tale ambience.
- Keep your pond looking beautiful and lively with solar pond aeration system.
- Modernize your driveway or pool with a ground-level solar driveway light.
- Add romantic atmosphere to your outdoor dining area with a solar patio umbrella light that lights up.
- Decorate your front entrance with a lamp post solar light or illuminated solar house address sign.
Understanding Solar Garden technology
Solar garden features such as lighting, bird baths, and signage are made possible by photovoltaics (PV), or solar cells that are made with semiconducting materials like silicon. As solar energy hits the PV cells, energy is absorbed creating an electrical current which is then turned into usable power for any electrical device.
Solar collectors can absorb the sun’s energy throughout the day, even when there are clouds in the sky, but to expand their usability many solar products are equipped with batteries which store the energy for use when the sun goes below the horizon.
Today, most solar-powered devices use rechargeable nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, which are much greener than the rechargeable nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries popular in years past. Using a hydrogen-based alloy rather than cadmium, which is extremely toxic, NiMH batteries are less toxic and much more efficient, providing two to three times more power than NiCds. And because rechargeable batteries (either NiCad or NiMH) can be powered-up repeatedly for many years, devices that use rechargeable batteries are much less costly to run compared to devices that use disposable batteries.
Most solar landscape lights are installed with light emitting diode (LED) bulbs rather than traditional incandescents. These solid-state bulbs are one of the most efficient lighting options on the market: they use 20% less energy than regular bulbs, and last over 120 times longer, too. Because they work without filaments, which are used in both incandescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, they are very hard to break. And they will not freeze, break, or crack under the power of the sun. Consequently, LED bulbs are a good fit for outdoor applications.
Is Your Outdoor Space a Candidate for a Solar Garden?
Virtually anyone can use solar garden features to accent their outdoor spaces such as a patio, yard, porch or garden. Regardless of where you live, as long as your garden receives sunlight throughout the day, strategically-placed solar features can add beauty and functionality to your property without adding to your energy bills. Solar-powered lighting is particularly interesting.
Solar landscape lights are especially suited where conventional electricity is not available-whether you’re looking to enhance a remote corner of your backyard or you live entirely off the grid away from civilization, solar devices are a great choice. And since you don’t have to dig trenches or hardwire your garden, you can enjoy these devices with very little set-up.
Some Potential Drawbacks to Solar Garden Features
Although the perks of choosing solar garden features for your home are substantial, there have traditionally been some drawbacks to using small-scale solar options. LEDs in particular have been criticized for their dimness. Single LEDs are often dimmer than other bulbs, measuring only about 50-60 lumens. This can be countered, however, by choosing higher-output chips or using several LEDs together in groups. In the years ahead, LED technology is set to develop ever-brighter bulbs that meet and exceed current expectations.
Another complicating factor for solar garden products is the ability to capture enough light. If you install a solar garden birdbath near a tree, for instance, there is a high likelihood that it will be shaded for a good portion of the day, reducing its chances to collect solar energy. To counter this problem, many solar power products now come with separate photovoltaic (PV) modules that can be placed away from the item being powered. This allows you to place your solar-powered bird bath or light fixture anywhere you like without worrying about how placement will affect its sunlight-gathering ability.
Discover the Benefits of Solar Home Gardens
The benefits of a solar home garden go far beyond energy savings. These solar energy products result in a lower-maintenance, reliable landscape design that’s better for the environment. Powered by the sun, solar powered products cut your outdoor lighting and electricity bills dramatically while simultaneously diminishing your carbon footprint. They require no wiring or digging of trenches and can be installed in non-powered areas anywhere on your property. Working “off the grid,” these solar garden features will work even when there’s a power outage. The solar collectors will provide light even on cloudy days. LED bulbs in solar light fixtures are 90% more efficient than other options and last much longer than incandescent bulbs, requiring fewer bulb changes.
Nickel metal hydride batteries, which are generally used in these types of applications, are less toxic than nickel cadmium batteries. These are compelling reasons for you to consider choosing solar energy products for your garden.