You have just installed solar street lights or suspended solar lanterns and now you are lighting up your garden at night. These solar garden lights work simply by using energy from solar panels and one or more rechargeable batteries. Through the photovoltaic effect, solar panels generate electricity from sunlight and thus charge the batteries during the day. When it gets dark, the energy stored in the batteries powers an LED light.
Panel positioning and tilt angle
Solar panels are located above the solar garden lights. Although geographic location and weather conditions greatly influence the performance of solar panels, you can always follow a few simple steps to optimize the performance of your lights. To fully charge the panels, you need to place the solar lights in an outdoor space where there is 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Pay attention to trees, walls or roofs that could shade the solar panels and reduce their performance during the day. Also, the tilt angle of the panel of some solar garden lights, such as solar security lights or solar floodlights, can be adjusted to make the most of the sun. In the United States, for example, the angle of inclination of the panels should be set to approximately 30 degrees in summer and 45 degrees in winter. Of course, the panels must also face south.
Fill before use
You may be excited after purchasing a solar light set and eager to install them. However, do not use them right away. First, let the lights be exposed to direct sunlight for approximately 5-10 cycles (charging during the day and discharging at night) to allow the battery to charge to its maximum capacity. You will find out later that the lights can last at least 8 hours in the dark, almost from dusk to dawn.
Avoid street lighting
Most solar garden lights are turned on and off automatically by a light sensor that senses the surrounding light levels. At night, when the light levels are below a value in the sensor’s memory, the light turns on. Also, the light will automatically turn off at dawn when it detects more light. To function properly, the sensor must be positioned correctly. When choosing a location for sunlight, make sure the device is not placed near night light sources, such as porch lighting or street lighting.
If lost near a light source, the sunlight sensor will react to ambient light and the artificial light source simultaneously. High powered porch or street lighting (compared to solar landscape lights) will reduce the sensitivity of the sunlight sensor and may even eliminate the ability to automatically turn on sunlight.
Cleaning the solar panels
It is important that dirt and debris are kept away from the solar panel as much as possible. A dirty solar panel will not fully charge the battery and therefore shorten its life. Running solar lights covered in dirt and debris can cause the light to malfunction. To maintain high performance, be sure to clean the panel regularly with a dry cloth and warm soapy water. Also, remember to clean the snow from the panel in winter.
In general, the rechargeable battery can be replaced every two years to maintain maximum capacity. If you have a long winter or extreme weather conditions in your area, it would be best to change the battery every year.
Store solar lights
Solar garden lights can be left outdoors year-round, even in cold climates. However, if you want to store your light indoors for more than three days, follow these steps to avoid damaging the light’s rechargeable batteries: