Choosing The Right Solar Security Lights
Securing your windows and locking your doors can deter a burglar’s attempt to break into your business or home. But installing security lights around your home can prevent criminals and enhance personal safety at night.
In 2016, accidental injury was the third cause of death for the first time in US History.
- 1 Choosing The Right Solar Security Lights
- 2 What Is Solar Security Light?
- 3 How Do Solar Security Lights Work
- 4 Benefits of Using Solar Security Lights for Backyard
- 5 Types of Solar Security Lights and Their Features
- 6 Factors to Consider When Buying a Solar Security Light
- 7 Tips on Installation and Usage of the Best Type of Light in Your Yard
- 8 Final Thoughts
Several studies found that the installation of security lights reduced crime rates significantly. In fact, the studies concluded that increased levels of lighting led to a 7% reduction in the crime rate. That includes property crime, robbery, and aggravated assault.
Solar security lights are a necessity and their purchase pays off in several beneficial ways.
What Is Solar Security Light?
The solar security light is an outdoor light that provides visibility for your and your family. These fixtures also improve safety thanks to their motion-sensing technology and brightness.
When you install a solar security light on your property, you’ve clear visibility through the night. As such, it will deter teenagers from breaking curfew and robbers attempting to break into your home.
Solar-powered security lights operate exactly as electrical security lights. But instead of using AC power, they use the power of the Sun to charge their batteries. Therefore, solar security lights are eco-friendly and will illuminate your property all night.
As such, when you come home late, the chances of tripping over unseen obstacles are minimal. Since the security light provides instant visibility, you can clearly identify who is approaching.
The motion-sensing technology can detect movement between 10 to 30 feet away or an area of more than 300 square feet.
Areas that benefit from a security light on your property are oftentimes difficult to access. You can mount the solar security light anywhere as long as the light has access to sunlight.
It offers more cost savings and eliminates the need to trend electric wires for installation. Furthermore, no monthly electric bills.
How Do Solar Security Lights Work
Solar security lights work by harnessing the rays of the Sun to produce electricity. The basic components of a solar security light include:
- Glass cover
- Solar cells
- Controller board
- LED or a series of LED
- Lamp cover
A solar security light uses standard solar cells. A single solar cell can produce a maximum of 0.45 volts. Current vary depending on the size of the cell and the amount of sunlight striking the surface.
The typical solar security light will have four cells. They are usually wired in a series. These four cells can produce up to 1.8 volts and 100 milliamps.
Solar cells are usually made from silicon crystals in cleanroom conditions. As such, they are less expensive compared to a decade or two ago.
They have a glass cover, front contact grid, anti-reflective coating, N-type silicon, P-type Silicon, and back contact.
N-type silicon has free electrons while P-type silicon has holes. Basically, it has no electrons but positively charged holes.
When both N and P-type silicon come into contact, an electric field forms. When the sunlight strikes a solar cell, the electrons will flow creating electricity.
Since the solar security light stores energy, it has a battery. The solar cells are usually wired to the battery through a diode. This helps to prevent current from flowing back to the solar cell from the battery at night.
Standard solar security lights have an AA Nicad battery or Lithium-ion battery. This type of battery can produce up to 1.2 volts and have the capability of storing 700 milliamp hours.
During the day, the solar cells collect sunlight and charge the battery. In full bright sunlight, the battery will fully charge. At night, the solar cells cannot collect sunlight. As such, they stop producing power.
During the nighttime, the photoresistor turns on the LED or series of LEDs. In a solar security light, two transistors replace the relay.
The controller board usually accepts input from the photoresistor and power from the battery and solar cell. Since the security light has a three-transistor circuit, it turns on the series of LEDs once the photoresistor detects little or no light.
A fully charged battery can operate an LED for 15 hours and 8 to 12 hours for a series of LEDs. Solar security lights with motion sensors operate with a Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR).
This technology measures infrared light emitted by objects in the sensor’s field of view. If the motion sensor detects movement, the solar security light turns on for a minute or two then turns off.
Benefits of Using Solar Security Lights for Backyard
The following are the benefits of using solar security lights for the backyard.
Safer Than Electrical Lights
To install electrical lights, you have to run wires/cords from the security light to an existing source of power close to the location of the light. This can turn into a fire hazard especially if you’ve naughty children at home playing in your backyard.
With solar security lights, you don’t have to run any wires to the lights. A solar security light provides a steady source of power without the need for pesky cords in the way which poses a tripping hazard.
This is because solar security lights have solar cells which collect sunlight, produce power, and store in a battery for use at night.
Have Motion Sensors
The majority of solar security lights have motion sensors using PIR technology. As such, they can detect the movement of persons or animals up to 30 feet away. If the sensor detects an object, it turns on the lights for a minute or two.
This impedes burglars and enhances security in your home.
Also, burglars cannot cut the cord or unplug a solar security light as the light is cordless. By positioning the lights around the exterior of your property, you’ll see the entirety of your backyard through your window.
The lights will also deter teenagers from breaking curfew. You can also get lights with a pet immune PIR sensor.
The sensors are usually programmed according to your pet’s weight and height. As such, your pets will not activate the sensors and turn the lights on and off repeatedly avoiding false alarms.
Think back to those times when you had to use flashlights to move around the backyard because of power cuts or a failed grid. If the grid fails or power cuts outs, your backyard will be visible even when it’s pitch black outside.
Thanks to the abundance of lighting at night, burglars will be less inclined to break into your home.
This is how solar security lights are superior to electrical lights. By taking the solar route, you’ll be autonomous. By depending on a power source that never fails, you can keep your family and property safe.
Well manufactured solar security lights are weather resistant. As such, you can leave them out in the rain and other elements, and they will maintain their functionality.
Most solar security lights have a weatherproof resting of IP65. As such, they can withstand rainy conditions.
Some have a sturdy resin finish that ensures the light will not rust. Poorly manufactured solar security lights will fail you in rainy weather. Others will wear out faster due to poor quality materials and construction.
If you’re looking for weather-resistant solar security lights, do not compromise on quality.
You must position your solar security lights in direct sunlight. So, if part of your backyard does not receive an abundance of sunlight, you can relocate your solar security light with ease.
There are no wires to run from an existing power source. There is no risk of electrocution. All you need to do is fix the solar security light in a new position where it will get enough power to produce electricity.
Types of Solar Security Lights and Their Features
Motion-activated solar security lights have motion sensors that use PIR technology. Basically, the sensor detects infrared from the person or animal within a 30-foot range.
The sensitive PIR sensors also operate with angles of up to 150 degrees. Once activated, the solar security light can illuminate up to 30 feet.
Solar security lights also come with different lighting modes. They include dim brightness, auto-switching, and long lighting. You can program the light to get brighter or turn on when the sensors detect a person or stay lit the entire night.
The security light has an attached solar panel you can adjust up to a 360-degree angle for maximum efficiency. If positioned in direct sunlight, it can take 4 to 6 hours to fully charge. As such, it can easily stay lit from dusk to dawn on a single charge.
Floodlights have amazing brightness and one of the longest run times. The light and the solar panel are separate pieces. That way, the solar security is in a spot that’s shady while the solar panel gets maximum exposure in the sun.
Since floodlights are best for security, they give off 5000 to 10,000 lumens or more in bright mode.
This is overwhelmingly bright and will illuminate your property well. It comes with a range of settings including automatic on/off and timer. The auto on/off relies on a light sensor to turn the light on and off.
The timer has the options of three, five, and eight hours. This allows you to set how long the light should stay on before switching off. You can also adjust the light mode between high and low for the settings above.
The majority of floodlights have a remote control. As long as you’re within 15 meters, you can change the settings.
Exterior Soffit solar security lights have an adjustable design. Easy to install, you can adjust the three light heads or more to different angles.
This is a corded model. As such, you need to mount to a junction box with a few wiring steps. Then connect the light to a switch to turn it on and off.
The light is waterproof with a rating of IP65. As such, it can withstand rain, snow, and sleet. It’s perfect for entryways, workshops, and yards. Made of die-cast aluminum, the body is durable and does not corrode. It’s also an efficient heat dissipation.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Solar Security Light
The following are factors to consider before buying a solar security light.
Wattage is one of the crucial factors to consider before buying a solar security light. The wattage shows how much power the solar security light can produce in ideal conditions.
For example, solar security light with a 10-watt solar panel will output 10-watt hours of electricity every hour. So, the more light you need, the higher the wattage panel.
Lower wattage panels usually produce a few hundred lumens. Such panels can be run by a 1 to a 5-watt solar panel. But large lights require 10 to 30-watt solar panels. This is true especially when shopping for solar floodlights.
Larger solar panels can produce more wattage because they’ve more surface area. This allows solar cells to collect more sunlight.
Solar flood lights have more than one solar panel. This enables the panels to recharge the large-capacity batteries.
Traditional street lights use high-intensity discharge lights. When pressure and temperature increase within the bulb, it emits UV radiation.
This is alongside the light. These types of lights are usually bright and are ideal for public lighting. However, they’re not energy efficient. As such, HID is not an ideal option for solar lighting.
The best choice for solar security lights is Light-emitting diodes or LEDs. When current passes through the small microchips, they create visible light in the diode. LEDs are far more efficient and energy-saving than HID and traditional bulbs.
They do not burn out like other light bulbs. LEDs do not waste energy, they convert the greatest amount of energy to light and last longer than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. They also focus light rather than scattering it in all directions.
The average LED bulb has a lifespan of about 50,000 hours. However, they do experience lumen degradation. As such, they will start dimming over time. This is a slow process, and you will not need to replace them for many years.
How much light a solar security light produces is a crucial factor to consider. Some lights are bright enough to light up your backyard, while others will only cover a small section, such as your garage door.
Before buying a solar security light, you need to know how much lumens the light source gives off.
A lumen is a unit of measurement equal to the amount of light given out by a light source. A candle can radiate about 12 lumens, while a CFL light will produce 1500 lumens.
The old tungsten incandescent bulb had an efficiency of 15 lumens, while LEDs can produce more than 60 lumens/watt. In other words, LEDs are 4 times more efficient at producing light than other light sources.
Once you know the lumen output of the solar security light, you can look at the light spread or intensity. Usually, manufacturers will indicate light spread in degrees, for example, 120 degrees light angle.
If the security light can create a 180 degree light angle, then the beam of light will cover the whole area beneath it. But if the light angle is 90 degrees, then it will illuminate half the space.
Another factor to consider is the light color. The spectral output of your solar security light shows you the color of the LEDs. There are two color variations: Warm White – 3000K and Daylight – 6000K.
LEDs create a daylight spectrum. This allows you to see everything in true colors, unlike warm white that skews your perspective to the yellow side. In fact, things appear more yellow like objects illuminated by the old HID streetlights.
For security purposes, we recommend going for solar security lights with 6000K color temperature LEDs. In the presence of bright white LEDs, the brain releases serotonin. This makes you feel more alert.
When the bright LED lights are absent, the body releases melatonin which encourages sleepiness.
Warmer light fixtures are usually reserved for the living room or bedroom. In this setting, the warm light helps you relax and fall asleep. In a 2016 study, researchers confirmed that exposure to 30 minutes of bright blue light results in faster reaction times.
Blue light is a brain booster, and that’s why it’s perfect for the office as it magnifies performance.
Solar security lights have a battery that collects solar energy converted into electricity by the solar cell(s). This power is later used to light the LED or series of LEDs.
If buying a solar security light, look for a model with a solar panel and battery combination. This should offer a large milliampere-hour capacity.
To understand the ratio between the battery and solar cell or panel, talk to your dealer. The light’s panel should be sufficient enough to charge the battery. The battery should have enough capacity to run the solar security light for hours.
A large capacity battery means less time to full charge. This allows your solar security light to run even with a few hours of sunlight.
In modern solar security lights, Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used. This is because they’re compact, unlike lead-acid batteries.
Solar security lights are usually made for outdoor usage. As such, they should be more durable and of high quality. When shopping for solar security lights, look for weatherproof lights.
The lights should have a metal casing and an extra toughened glass screen. Such a security light can withstand all weather conditions. In fact, you can use them on colder nights in winter.
If you live in a warm area where it doesn’t rain a lot, you can go for solar security lights with ABS plastic casing. While they will not be so tough, they’re good enough for illuminating your property and keeping burglars at bay.
Solar security lights with a plastic casing are usually 3 to 5 times cheaper than lights with metal casing.
Tips on Installation and Usage of the Best Type of Light in Your Yard
To install your solar security lights, position them in the yard, around the perimeter of your property, and on the house. Driveways, natural areas, and entrances are also good positions for placing your security lights.
We recommend placing all security lights at a minimum height of 8 to 12 feet and a maximum height of 20 feet. This makes it hard for criminals to tamper with the lights.
When choosing a good position to install your solar security light, make sure there are no obstructions. Obstructing the solar cell means it will not collect sunlight and convert it to power before storage in the battery.
If you obstruct the light, it will not illuminate your property well. Avoid obstructions such as trees, branches, and overhangs.
Keep Distance From Other Light Sources
Most solar security lights have motion sensors and photoresistors. If the amount of light is insufficient, the photoresistor will activate the light. Make sure to install your solar security light away from other artificial light sources.
Clean the Glass Cover
Solar security lights have a glass cover that shields the LEDs from the external environment. With time, the glass cover will get dirty, and the light emitted will not be bright enough.
To ensure the solar security light illuminates your property well, clean the glass cover.
Clean the Panel
Cleaning the panel is also a good idea. Use a dry cloth and warm soapy water to wipe the panel’s surface. Do so every two to three months. You can also use a mild detergent to remove grime. Gently rub with a clean damp cloth and allow to dry.
A solar security light provides visibility around your property. It also grants area safety thanks to motion-sensing technology and brightness. From your window, you can clearly identify persons, animals, and objects.
The security lighting also deters criminals from breaking into your home. As such, you can sleep soundly all night.