About Solar Christmas Lights
Solar Christmas lights not only save money on your electrical bill, they're safer too. Solar Christmas lights can be strung anywhere, without having to worry access to an electrical outlet. Because the lights, usually LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), operate on energy generated by the sun, there's no extra cost to run the lights all night if you want to.
Advantages of Solar Christmas Lights
A fully charged string of solar Christmas lights will run from six to eight hours, plenty of time to give people out viewing lights a good showing. Because the LED lights used in solar strings generate little or no heat, they are safer as decorations since there is practically no risk of fire, electrical shorts or overheating.
One of the shortcomings of electrical lights is having to be close to an outlet to plug them into. With solar powered lights you can place lights anywhere, and not have to worry about wires showing, or having to run cords to an outlet. You won't have any charge on your electric bill if you use just solar powered lights.
Solar powered Christmas lights will also pay for themselves over a couple of years. And, the average LED bulb lasts for 20 to 30 years. This means you won't have to replace your lights for a long, long time. Another advantage to solar lights is you don't have to remember to turn them on. Solar systems come with a light sensor that triggers an "on" switch when it begins to get dark. It's like having your own Christmas elf standing by to turn on the evening light display.
Disadvantages of Solar Christmas Lights
If you live in a cloudy or overcast area, or in the norther regions of the United States, you may not get enough sunlight to charge your lights over several days. This means there might be nights your lights are dim are not lit at all. All solar power depends on a rechargeable battery which must be replaced when the battery is depleted.
Things to Consider When Buying Solar Christmas Lights
Buy Solar Christmas lights that have Lithium Ion rechargeable batteries. Unlike NiCd batteries, Lithium Ion batteries don't have "memory effect," a condition in which batteries don't charge fully.
Before buying solar powered lights, make sure the area in which you plan to place them has a direct view of sunlight for at least 4 to 5 hours a day. Because one hour of sunlight generally generates one hour of power, 5 hours of light will give you enough light for the prime viewing hours for Christmas lights. Even though you can place the lights anywhere, the solar panels must have access to direct sunlight. Partial shade won't charge the panels.
Solar Christmas lights come in a variety of colors, and some will twinkle as well. If you want a higher intensity light than the average solar Christmas light, purchase a controller that will allow you to regulate the frequency of the twinkling as well as the intensity.