The Pros and Cons of Solar Patio Lighting

Solar lighting has been the buzz word of 21st century landscape lighting design. Professionals and DIY landscapers tout the many benefits of solar lighting for patios and how they have contributed to a greener, more enjoyable outdoor landscape.

Along with the many benefits of solar patio lighting; however, there are a few disadvantages. Nothing is 100% perfect! By weighing these pros and cons, you can make an educated decision about what you want to use in your patio lighting design.

Pros

Inexpensive Energy – Most people use solar lights for this benefit alone. Solar will keep your electricity bills low because you are taking advantage of the energy from the sun—and thank goodness the sun is free of charge! The only money you will invest is in the initial purchase of the lights and to replace the rechargeable batteries.

Easy Installation – For DIY landscapers, working with wires and transformers is a scary thought, especially if they are not skilled electricians. Without electrical knowledge, they risk making costly mistakes. Solar lighting is easy to install, contains no wires and only requires a little push to anchor them into the ground.

Easy Maintenance – Solar lights are easy to maintain. Changing the battery is the hardest part. Additionally, solar lights can be re-arranged and moved around when you want to experiment and re-design. This isn’t so easy when you have wires to contend with.

Cons

Lighting costs – Yes, social energy costs are next to none, but solar lighting fixtures cost more than traditional ones. Since you are choosing lights for just your patio, you will make up the difference in no time with your monthly energy savings. If you are tackling a large job, calculate how much more solar lighting fixtures will cost and compare it to the potential energy savings to determine if solar will be the most cost-effective choice.

Climate and Shade –Solar lights will not fare well during “sun-less” months and poor weather. Drifting leaves and snow covers will prevent the lights from obtaining energy from the sun. If you have a small number of solar lights, you can re-charge the batteries to give them some juice, but this can be cumbersome with many lights. If you are concerned about the energy demands of your sun-deficient area, consider LED lights for the areas of your patio that are under the shade. They conserve energy as well.

Dimmer light – Generally, solar lighting is not as bright as traditional lighting.  Also, you cannot turn solar lights on and off.  They have a light meter that senses when the sun goes down which turns the light on. If you have regular guests or frequent your patio, you may want “backup” lights in case your solar lights are not cooperating.

Your decision will depend on your budget and your personal needs. You may find you desire more traditional lighting for your patio.  You can always enhance it with solar lights instead of making it a completely solar-powered patio. Whatever you decide, it is sure to be beautiful. Good luck!