September 19, 2017

Will Solar Christmas Lights Catch On?

With Americans dying to find new ways to save energy costs and be eco-friendly at the same time, anything with the word solar-powered is going to spark interest. If your willing to go the distance of being environmentally progressive around the holidays, you might have mixed feelings about the technology.

Solar Power History

Cases of harnessing solar power can traced back to over 100 years ago when machinery during the industrial revolution was dependent on steam power. Many solar power plants were created to produce steam for these newly invented machines and according to Solarexpert.com, “Today, commonly available solar panels are 12% efficient, which is four times greater than only a few years ago.”

With advancements over the years, solar energy has brought us two modern forms of production. One is thermal solar which heats water to power moving parts. The other, photovoltaic directly produces solar energy for electricity.

Solar Power in Christmas Lighting

Solar technology in Christmas lights is a relatively new idea. They work just like any other photovoltaic solar-powered product. A solar panel is place somewhere outside the home in direct sunlight. This panel grabs energy from the sun, charges a battery and saves enough power to illuminate the lights after a light sensor installed in the panel tells it that it is not bright enough to harness energy and the lights turn on!

The bulbs themselves are LEDs which is kind of a drawback. LEDs do not provide high wattage and have more of a focused light instead of a glow. The good is that they do last much longer than the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs and are easier to replace.

One very large drawback is the price. While an average string of LED lights runs for about $11.99, a string of solar lights will run a consumer about 7 times that amount. You may want to ask yourself if it’s worth the money. On a typical sunny day, a string of solar -powered lights will produce 1.8 volts of electricity and will light all night until the morning when the process starts all over again. On an overcast day, you’ll be lucky to get 8 hours of illumination.

While many may think the price is of no concern to them, variety will be. Solar-powered lights do not come in the many different forms of their plug-in counterparts. It may be hard to find vast colors, blinking arrangements and bulb counts. It’s up to you decide if the energy efficiency and eco-friendliness is worth the many cons of this breed.

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