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How Long do Solar Lights Last

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The introduction of solar lights has made people save money. Solar lights can be perfect to light up your outdoor space. Even though it is expensive, it is an environmentally friendly option and will let you save money in the future. However, the question is how long solar lights last. It all depends upon the quality as well as how well you take care of them. In this article, we will discuss how long solar lights last and ways to make solar lights last longer.

How Long is the Lifespan of Solar Lights?

The lifespan of solar lights varies accordingly. When it comes to LEDs, they can last for at least a decade. When the solar lights are not illuminating, it will let you know when to change the parts. However, when it comes to the battery, it may last from three to four years. Following that, you will have to get a replacement battery.

Do note that many factors can impact the longevity of solar lights. Be it their placement or maintaining cleanliness, all these contribute to the lifespan of outdoor solar lights. As it is placed outdoors, you will have to note that it is going to withstand inclement weather conditions. With proper maintenance, your solar lights can last longer.

How Does Solar Lights Operate?

How a solar light works depends upon the four components. It consists of a light, solar panel, controller, and battery. Here is a closer look at each of them.

Light Source

There are two benefits of using an LED as a light source. LEDs tend to be energy efficient and are available in small sizes. An LED light produces 85% of electricity compared to a halogen bulb which generates 90% of heat. On average, LEDs come with a life expectancy of 50,000 hours. With this, even if you turn on the LED for 12 hours in a day, it will go on to last for a minimum of 11 years. We should also not forget that LEDs are durable. The plastic encasing makes them resist intense weather conditions.

Photovoltaic Arrays

Solar panels greatly affect how solar lights work. The solar panel is responsible for capturing sunlight and converting it into electricity. It stores the electricity in a battery. The small systems in solar lights are known as solar cells, Pico solar cells, or solar arrays. In outdoor solar lights, you will find monocrystalline solar panels. They deliver efficient performance and can generate superior power. Also, monocrystalline solar arrays are very durable. However, it is the type of covering which can affect the longevity of the solar panels.

  • Epoxy resin coating: Epoxy resin panels are common for outdoor landscaping products. They usually come with three layers of the printed circuit board (PCB), solar cell, and epoxy resin surface. Generally, they can have a lifespan of at least two years.
  • PET laminated panels: PET utilizes polyester film and is highly durable. It features ethylene vinyl acetate(EVA) for insulating the cell. These types of panels have a lifespan of over three years. Even the surface can have more texture when compared to epoxy panels.
  • Tempered glass laminated panels: Tempered glass panels are more durable. They can withstand inclement climates. A tempered glass laminated panel can have a durability of 10 to 15 years. However, they can be expensive.

Controller

The main function of a controller is to send power to the battery from the solar cells. It can measure when it is dark with the photoresistor. There is also a small transistor for turning on the LED light. The photoresistor allows the energy of the solar cells for charging the battery. However, it will not send any energy to the battery when it will not sense any light. In a controller, you will not find moving parts. It can be said that it rarely affects the lifespan of a solar light.

Battery

You will have to note that batteries can greatly influence the functioning of solar lights. Even though batteries that come with light can have low capacity, you can go for easy replacement. The most common types of rechargeable batteries are Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH).

  • NiCd: NiCd batteries offer a lot of benefits. This type of battery can be recharged up to 500 times. Often the charging time is relatively less. Even while using energy, the rate of discharge is the same. Other benefits of Nickel-Cadmium batteries include the memory effect. However, they do come with drawbacks. Nickel Cadmium batteries can lose almost 10% of the energy while storing. Even cold and hot temperatures can affect the battery’s discharge rate.
  • NiMH: Compared to NiCD, NiMH has almost double the energy. They are also very durable and there will be less impact due to temperature changes. NiMH batteries don’t come with a memory effect and are more environmentally friendly. Cadmium is highly toxic and you must dispose of it carefully. Another thing to note is that NiMH batteries are expensive. Despite this, it offers a lot of benefits over NiCd batteries.

Are Solar Lights Everlasting?

Like any other product, solar lights also wear out. You can encounter many problems like general light malfunction, dying battery, or weak light. For all of these, you will have to get a replacement. The average lifespan of LEDs is about 10 years. The batteries can have a longevity of almost 4 years. If the battery dies within the warranty period, you don’t have to spend anything to replace it. However, batteries are affordable, and replacing one will not be an issue. Another important factor to consider is that the solar panels must receive enough sunlight. It must receive the energy of at least eight hours from the sun. Even with good maintenance, solar lights can last longer.

Tips To Improve Solar Lights Lifespan To Make It Last Longer

  • Keep It Squeaky Clean: Dirt on the solar panels can block sun rays. This will further affect the battery to drain faster. It can also affect lighting which can produce less brightness. For this reason, you will have to clean the solar panels regularly. Dirt and debris can lead to a shading effect and you must use damp clothing for cleaning it. Also, you can place the lights around the home’s perimeter wall.
  • Install In An Open Place: One of the ways to increase the shelf life of a solar panel is to place it in a location that receives maximum sun rays. With fewer sun rays, there will not be brightness. Reposition your light and install them in an open space. To make sure that nothing blocks the lights, you can clear the plants and bushes.
  • Correct Settings:Ensure that the settings are correct. If the settings are wrong, it can lead to damage to the solar lights. There can be excessive consumption which can make the battery die. With incorrect settings, you may illuminate the garden brightly and consume more energy. Often loose wiring must be inspected carefully.
  • Protect the Panels:Solar panels cannot withstand extreme weather conditions. Cold weather can be harmful and can provide weak light. If it is freezing, you will have to bring the solar lights indoors. Even while storing them in winter, you will have to keep them safely by removing the batteries. Wrap the panels with paper to prevent moisture and dirt.
  • Turn Off To Preserve: It is important to preserve batteries. During rainy days, the solar panels will not receive efficient charging. This can lead to poorly recharged batteries. For this reason, you will have to switch off the light on rainy days.
  • Pick The Right Bulbs:Bulbs with high wattage will make your batteries die quickly. You will have to select bulbs that consume less energy. This will help to preserve the batteries longer. While buying the bulb, you will have to consider if you need it for indoor or outdoor purposes.
  • The Darkness Factor: Another important factor to consider is the location. As solar lights come with a sensor, it can detect if the area needs light. However, when you place the lights near an artificial light, the sensor will not know if it is dark. You must always install solar lights away from artificial light. Also, it can damage the sensors when there is no prompt to light the bulb.
  • Throw Out Drained Batteries:If you notice that the solar light is losing charge quickly, it is an issue with the battery. This can also result in dimmer light or it will not work at all. For this reason, get a new battery and replace the drained batteries. However, you will have to consider the current and voltage specifications carefully before making your purchase.

Conclusion

Installing solar lights for outdoor use can be a perfect investment. Although it will cost you more, in the long run, it can be very efficient. Another advantage of having solar lights is that they can save the environment. Solar lights provide perfect brightness and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor purposes. With proper maintenance, your solar lights can last longer. You can always follow the above tips to make them run smoothly.

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