How do solar garden lights work?
Solar powered lights convert sunlight into direct electrical current – of course, this means adequate sunlight is required.
They work because of the photovoltaic effect – the photovoltaic or solar cell is the most important part of the light, the part that actually converts sunlight into direct electrical current. A solar cell consists of multiple layers of crystalline silicone and chemicals that create layers of negatively charged electrons and positively charged spaces.
Sunlight passes through the solar cell - pushing the negatively charged electrons into the positively charged space.
The electron stream is then transferred as a direct current of electricity through wires to a battery.
The energy is then stored until it is needed.
The battery is charged throughout the day as sunlight continues to be converted to electricity. As the sun goes down a photoreceptor detects that it is dark and the light turns on. This is usually made up of LEDs – the battery supplies electricity to this throughout the night. The process is then repeated when the sun comes back up.
Does solar powered garden lighting work in the winter too?
Sure! Solar powered garden lighting still works in the winter, although perhaps not as brightly as in the summer. In the winter, when the days are shorter, your garden light's solar cell will perhaps not get quite enough sun on it to charge the battery fully. This will mean that the length of time your light is on will not be as long, but still long enough for you to enjoy the light in your garden, or on your patio or decking.
How long do solar garden lights last?
The rechargeable batteries in your solar powered light will last about two years – if you take care of them by periodically allowing the lights to recharge. The LED light bulbs will last for up to 100,000 hours and are not replaceable. The batteries, however, are.