One of the up and coming alternative energy products is solar flood lighting. These exterior lights, powered totally by the rays of the sun, are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners, contractors, and architects. The design and functionality of solar flood lighting has improved drastically over the years, and prices have dropped to the point where many people view them as a viable alternative to traditional electric floodlights.
The advantages of solar flood lighting arrive from many different avenues. For the ecologically minded, they serve to reduce energy dependence, causing zero environmental damage. However, the appeal of solar flood lighting also lies heavily with their simplicity and ease of maintenance.
Floodlights of any sort are used to brighten outdoor areas. To a large degree, they are a security device, providing the sort of illumination unpopular with intruders or thieves. In other scenarios, they are utilized for landscaping enhancement, or to beautify the exterior appearance of a home. Floodlights are also common in highlighting billboards, and are sometimes used as an emergency back up for airport runways.
In the past, floodlights were virtually all powered by electricity. Now, solar floodlighting can provide the exact same service at a fraction of the long-term cost. Solar floodlights also provide a wonderful alternative to outbuildings without a nearby electrical source, and are seen more and more frequently on boat docks.
An electrically powered floodlight normally carries a quartz halogen bulb of at least 100 watts. The lights are set up in arrays of two or more, with each bulb casting a beam approximately 25 feet (7.62 meters) in width. Manufacturers claim that the traditional bulbs will last for 2,000 hours, but homeowners will testify that such claims are highly variable. One bulb costs a minimum of $10 US Dollars (USD). Furthermore, if there is trouble with the wiring to the light, a qualified electrician is required for a safe repair.
In contrast, solar flood lighting rarely needs any sort of repair. They also are equipped with quartz halogen bulbs, but in this case, the bulbs last up to three years. Electricity costs are non-existent, as photovoltaic cells power solar flood lighting. They can be placed virtually anywhere, and prices for an entire unit can be as low as $50 US Dollars (USD).
Granted, solar flood lighting will not brighten an outdoor area with the same intensity as its electric counterpart. However, they provide enough light that one can easily see into dark corners, and easily notice if something is amiss. For landscaping uses, the lesser illumination is preferable. It is more pleasing to the eye, providing a subtle and understated ambiance.
Most solar floodlights are now equipped with a photo switch or sensor. By day, the light’s collection cells take in solar energy, but the bulbs remain off. After the sun sets, the sensor automatically turns on the bulb. Almost always, the solar cells have collected enough energy to operate the lights at full capacity through an entire night.