A solar LED light is a device that uses energy from the sun to power a lamp containing light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. These lights collect solar energy through a photovoltaic panel, then store this energy until it is needed to power the lights. Solar lights are available in a wide variety of styles and finishes, and can be used in applications ranging from small residential projects to streetlights.
Many outdoor fixtures rely on solar energy for power, including landscaping and floodlights. Sports and camping activities can also be powered using solar LEDs, as can bicycle lights or handheld lanterns and flashlights. Many holiday light displays also use solar LED lights.
While the photovoltaic panels used in these lamps are often built-in to the fixture itself, this is not always the case. In some applications, a separate panel collects energy from the sun and passes it to the solar LED light through a wire or cable. The lamp transforms this energy into usable energy to power the LED bulb within. In this type of application, where the panel is separate from the fixture, it's even possible for the solar LED light to be used indoors.
Many of these fixtures contain a built-in battery, which stores energy to power the light even when the sun isn't shining. Higher quality fixtures often have more powerful batteries, which can store a larger quantity of energy. Affordable garden lights and other solar LED lamps may have a relatively short battery life.
These lamps are considered a type of green technology due to their reduced impact on the environment. While traditional lights are powered using electricity produced with fossil fuels, a solar LED light represents clean energy. No fossil fuels are burned, which means fewer greenhouse gas emissions. This also means that these lights are fairly economical to operate, as they rely on "off-the-grid" energy sources for power.
The development of LED technology has further added to the advantages offered by these lights. LED bulbs are much more efficient than traditional light sources, and use only a fraction of the energy, which means they can operate much longer on a smaller power supply. They stay cool to the touch, unlike fluorescent or incandescent bulbs, which lowers the risk of damage caused by fire or heat. These bulbs are also much smaller than standard light bulbs, and offer both increased portability and a greater amount of light in a smaller space.
Like other types of green technology, solar LED lighting tends to be more expensive in terms of upfront costs than other light fixtures. Because they rely on solar energy, they can only be used in areas that experience regular sunlight. They must also be positioned correctly to maximize sun exposure, which may limit their use in some applications.