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The Reality of Solar Powered Lighting

Clients occasionally ask us about outdoor solar lighting systems. It would seem like solar lighting would be an excellent option: they're inexpensive, easy to install, don't require digging, and don't require electricity. Unfortunately, these seem to be the only advantages. Unfortunately, most solar landscaping lights do not even come close to the efficiency, durability, and brilliance of low-voltage LED lighting systems.

Generally, solar landscape fixtures are poorly constructed with cheap, flimsy plastics and lamps with extremely low lumen outputs. Lumens measure the brightness of the light. The average solar path light emits 1 lumen. An average low-voltage LED path light gives off 350-400 times more lumens than that - this is astonishingly low. In addition to the low light output, these lamps also emit harsh, blueish-white light, which registers very cool on the Kelvin scale.

Unlike low-voltage lights, solar lights get their energy from solar panels attached to the fixtures. However, the solar panels are fixed and cannot be moved. It would be necessary for the panel to be in full sunlight for the duration of the day in order to collect enough solar energy to power the lamp for an entire evening.

This greatly restricts the placement of landscape lighting, especially in dark, shaded areas of a home which are the most desirable places for it. Likewise, solar panels can only collect light during the day and when the sun is bright and uncovered by clouds. Your home would be dark on cloudy, rainy days like those we encounter in Georgia throughout the fall and winter when outdoor lighting is beneficial. One of the main obstacles to getting a solar panel is the unpredictability of its capacity to gather energy and reliably light your house.

A custom-made outdoor lighting system is incomparable to even the most pricey and best solar lights. Although these fixtures use high-quality LED lights, they can only produce focused beams of light with 400 lumens of energy, which is just 40W of incandescent light. The issue still exists, though, in that light energy can only be captured under specific circumstances and at specific times, and there is no assurance that the lights will remain on continuously throughout the night.

LED low-voltage lighting systems combine the benefits of solar lighting with the flexibility of creating the perfect light design for each client's home. High-quality LED lamps to last for decades and come in any color or hue. It allows our lighting designers to design an outdoor lighting system based on where the light should be placed to maximize aesthetic and security potentials, instead of where it would need to be placed in order to receive enough energy to operate.


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