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Solar Lights Explained

With no leads, energy bills and great illumination, solar goes hand in hand with garden lighting. Read on, as we attempt to answer the most commonly asked questions about solar garden lights.

We’ll start with the basic ingredients: we’ve got the sun, the solar panel, and the solar fairy lights. The sun gives out energy in the form of light, the solar panel gladly accepts this energy, and the fairy lights light up.

But why does my light have batteries in it? You ask.

Well, they are special rechargeable solar batteries. The panel soaks up the sun's rays which charge the solar batteries inside. This energy is then stored in the battery.

Right. So how do the lights know when to come on?

It’s called a photoresistor, and it’s not someone who avoids having their picture taken. It's a built-in daylight sensor which makes your lights shine when it gets dark. Note to self- this does mean that if you've put your solar panel near a street or security light it may never get dark enough for them to illuminate at all!

Is the solar panel weatherproof?

They are indeed completely weatherproof. Wipe your panel down with a clean cloth from time to time to make sure that it's absorbing the maximum amount of sunlight.

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Do my solar lights need constant sunlight to charge?

Yes. We’re not saying you have to relocate to the Bahamas if you want solar lights in your garden but they do need direct sunlight to charge. We all know that British weather is unreliable at best, so help your lights by making sure the panel is not in a shady spot. In winter it sometimes gets dark as early as 4pm, most people return home from work at 6pm and find their hopes dashed with a garden as dark and dreary as they left it that morning. To summarise solar is ideal for Spring and Summer - blame it on the weatherman!

How long will my lights illuminate for?

In spring and summer after a full day's charge you can expect from 6-8 hours of shine time. The rest of the year the illumination time really depends on the amount of sunlight your solar panel can absorb. If you are using a multi-function light opting for a flashing or twinkling function can enable your light to charge quicker.

How long will my solar batteries last?

Every battery in any solar product will eventually need replacing. On average they last for up to 600 charges so you’ll find that usually within 2 years a replacement is needed. If your light has stopped working most of the time changing the battery can be the simplest solution. To test if it's your battery or the light which needs replacing you can pop in a regular alkaline battery and see if your light illuminates.

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