Illuminate your outdoor space economically with solar lights from Overstock.com. Discover classic pathway lights with stakes on the bottom that allow for easy outdoor set-up and find hanging string lights that you can attach around your porch or patio for softly diffused night-time lighting. Rope lights look stunning when used to edge overhangs, while boxed-in options and security lighting with motion sensors make your outdoor spaces a touch safer for guests while helping prevent theft and intrusion. Select sparkling glass solar lights in an array of colors and patterns to beautify your deck or garden, or choose traditionally designed lanterns to enhance classic outdoor decor. Top-quality outdoor lighting brands including Duracell, Sharper Image, Paradise Garden, and Design Craft ensure that you will enjoy long-term illumination for years to come.
How Do Solar Lights Work?
How does outdoor solar lighting work?
Your solar lamp is powered by the sun. Each light absorbs energy from the sun, then converts it to electrical power. That electrical power is stored in the solar light's battery during the day. At night, your lamps light up using the stored power. Ideally, you'll place your lamp in an area that gets eight or more hours of direct sunlight a day (so don't place them in the darkest corner of the fence in your backyard).
What are the advantages of solar lighting?
As you might suspect, homeowners like solar lights because they're powered by the sun which cuts down on energy costs while adding an eco-friendly decoration to your landscape. Since they are powered by the sun and not connected to an electrical unit, you have a lot of freedom in deciding where to place your lights. There's no wiring, no special installation parts to purchase, and best of all, they're simple to install.
If you plan to eventually sell your home, solar lights are a great investment. They're low-cost, easy to install, and they offer instant curb appeal to your property. Plus, they allow you to highlight the best parts of your patio or yard, and you can shop for unique fixtures to enhance your design style.
What parts make up an outdoor solar light?
Although all lights are slightly different and specific features will vary based on brand and model, most outdoor solar lights have four components.
The solar panel absorbs energy from the sun to later transform into electrical power. Your solar panel's specific qualities (like its size or transparency) determine how efficient your light is. The solar panel is wired to a rechargeable battery that stores electricity for future use. Solar batteries need to be replaced roughly every two years, even if they're rechargeable.
Inside of your light is internal wiring which keeps your solar lamp shining brightly. Instead of bulbs, most solar lights use LED lights to illuminate your yard. That's because an LED light lasts longer and burns brighter than an incandescent bulb; LED lights are also smaller.
How do I turn on my solar light?
To control when your solar light system turns on for the evening, you can use the manual on/off switch that's placed on the lamp's casing. The light will still soak up electricity and store it when you're ready to turn the light back on again.
However, you also have the option to simply leave your light switched "on" all day, knowing that the light will illuminate on its own when darkness falls. If your solar light isn't turning on in the evening, it might be because it's too close to another outdoor light source. Try moving the solar light to a darker location.
What types of outdoor solar lights exist?
A solar path light is a small light placed on a stake, which can then be driven into the ground to illuminate the pathway it borders. Path lights are the perfect option for walkways that are too far for any electrical wiring to reach; plus, they're a stylish garden lighting option.
Decorative solar lights can be used when you'd like to add a fun patio light to your outdoor space. These lights can be color-changing or multi-color, and they come in forms like string lights or lanterns. They may not be quite as bright or efficient as indoor lights or a solar powered spotlight, but you can purchase them in multiples to increase illumination.
Finally, solar powered spotlights (also known as "task lights" or simply "spotlights") are the brightest options on the market. The spotlight is best utilized in a place where you need direct light, like in front of your doorway or driveway. Or, if you have a standout flowerbed or fountain you'd like to highlight in your backyard, you can aim the light there. A solar spotlight isn't quite as bright as a traditional floodlight, so determine whether you'll need more than one to achieve the desired effect.
Will my solar light work when it's not sunny?
Fear not, Seattle dwellers — outdoor solar lighting is still an option for your backyard. While it's true that solar lights will get their maximum charge on sunny days or in yards with direct sunlight and no shade, there are workarounds for bad weather or shady trees.
First, know that if there's just not that much sunlight in your area or you typically have cloudy weather, your solar light can still charge and work; the light just won't be as bright as you might want it to be. Also, your solar lamps will work better in the long, sunshiny summer days; during winter, when there's less daylight, your lights might not receive a full charge.
If you'd like to position your solar lamp in a shaded area, you can use a remote panel to soak up the sun's energy and redirect it to the solar lamp. A solar light professional can help you with this.
Also, when you're getting ready to purchase your solar lights, make sure to ask if the light's panels are weather-resistant. Most solar lights feature casings that resist precipitation.
However, if you live in an area that gets tons of rain or snow, you might need to store your solar yard lights for the winter. Don't forget to make sure that the light is turned off, and store the bulbs in a dark, dry location to keep them in tip-top shape for when you're ready to use them again.