Solar Christmas Lights
A better way to power your celebration
Powering your Christmas lights can be an expensive part of your holiday celebration. Traditional electrical lights are also a drain on power and can use over 100 watts per string. There are now a number of manufacturers who are putting out solar versions of outdoor Christmas lights.
Solar Christmas lights use the popular LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulb and come in a variety of string lengths and bulb colors. The light produced is bright and clear. You won't be able to tell the difference between your new solar lights and your old electric ones – except for when the holiday electric bill arrives!
How Solar Christmas Lights Work
Solar Christmas lights work in the same way as garden solar lights. The string is attached to a controller board that contains solar cells, a battery and a light sensor. The solar cell powers the battery with the energy that is produced by the sun. On a bright day, the sun can make about 1,000 watts of energy for each square meter of the earth.
A solar cell (also called a photovoltaic cell) converts the sunlight into electricity. Depending on its size, one solar cell is able to produce about 0.45 volts of electricity. A typical Christmas light controller board will contain four solar cells to produce 1.8 volts of electricity on a sunny day. On a bright sunny day this will completely recharge the battery. The battery will still be charged on an overcast day but it won't charge completely so the lights won't stay on as long.
Turning on the Lights
Solar Christmas lights will turn on by themselves. The light sensor tells the solar cell to stop producing power and turns on the LED Christmas lights. When a bright, sunny day has completely charged the battery, the lights can run for up to fifteen hours. On overcast days the battery will not charge fully and the lights may only run for eight to ten hours.
A New Product
Solar Christmas lights are a relatively new product. They are not available in the same varieties as traditional electric lights. The bulbs tend to be sold in round ball shapes and the most common colors are red, green and yellow. You can find the lights in some different colors like blue. You also have some choice in shape and will be able to find bulbs in oval and teardrop shapes but they will be more expensive.
The efficiency, cost saving and environmental factors outweigh the limited choice in shape and color. With solar Christmas lights you are significantly reducing the amount of energy you are consuming and can save hundreds on your hydro bill.