The threat of the effects of global warming has become more and more real in recent years. As more people became aware of this, they have taken measures in order to somehow help alleviate the issue in their own small ways. Using solar lights is probably the most obvious way of helping the environment.
Electric-powered lights are generated through methods that create more harm than good to the environment. It’s the reason why scientists spent years in looking for renewable energy sources that can be used instead. The concept for solar lights has been studied for many, many years before it became available in commercial and residential scales. And now that it is, more and more people are shifting into solar-powered lights.
Aside from its environment-friendly benefits, there are other advantages that you will definitely appreciate about using solar lights.
• Reduced electric consumption. When you shift into solar lights (even just outdoor lights at home), you will absolutely notice a dramatic decrease in your monthly electric bill. You won’t have to worry about putting outdoor lights at night because it’s not as expensive at it used to be. In fact, it’s almost free – ‘almost’ because your solar lights need replacing after a year or two.
• Easy installation. Aside from the fact that it needs to be placed in an area where it can harvest as much light from the sun as possible, there’s no other thing that you need to consider when setting up a solar garden light. That way, you can put it anywhere that will make your garden look more aesthetic at night without having to worry about wiring.
• Safe to use. The problem about wired outdoor lighting for the garden is the risk of getting electrocuted – especially when the lighting system is grounded. With solar lights, you won’t have to worry about that.
These are just some of the benefits that using garden solar lights can provide to you. If this has somehow convinced you to try using them at home, then you must learn the basics of solar lighting in order for you to understand how it works.
How Do Solar Lights Work: Do Solar Lights Work in Shade?
Solar lights work through a phenomenon called the photovoltaic effect. Solar panels are made of photovoltaic or solar cells that are designed to convert sunlight or solar energy into electrical energy. There are multiple layers that make the cell.
There’s a front layer, composed of a material that creates negatively charged electrons. There’s also a back layer, usually made using crystalline silicon and a material that creates positively charged spaces. When the solar cell is exposed to sunlight, the rays pass through the front layer; this excites the electrons and triggers them to pass through the back of the cell.
As a result, the electrons travel through the positively charged spaces and into the wires embedded in the solar cell. In a simpler explanation, it gathers the light coming from the sun and stores it in the battery to be used later during the night or when it is needed.
According to the explanation above, a solar cell needs to be exposed directly to sunlight in order for it to work. While that is correct, that’s not necessarily true all the time. You see, solar cells are also capable of harvesting any type of light. That means it does not necessarily have to come directly from the sun. However, solar cells are only able to perform optimally when its source of energy is the sun.
To answer the question, solar cells are still able to work in the shade. It’s just that it performs best when it is able to harvest as much solar energy as possible to have the batteries fully charged. Solar batteries tend to charge faster when exposed directly to the sun. That being said, solar cells still may be able to work during the winter but probably not as good as it does during the summer when it can get as much sunlight as necessary.
With the latest designs for solar lights, a fully charged battery is able to store enough energy to keep it running for as long as 12 straight hours at night. It’s one of the things that you might want to consider when shopping for garden solar lights.