ARE SOLAR ALL-IN-ONE LIGHTS A GOOD OPTION FOR YOU?
Solar all-in-one style lights have surged in popularity in recent years. A common feature on this type of light is the solar panel, battery, and light fixture are all contained within a single unit. This design can be used on light poles, floodlights, sign lights, etc. They are compact, simple to install, and usually priced lower than traditional solar powered lighting systems. They are a great option for some applications, but you should be aware of their limitations before making your purchase. You may find you require a different type of solar lighting product for your project.
All-In-One Light Limitations:
Solar Panel Direction
In most cases all-in-one solar lights keep the solar panel in a fixed position. The solar panel is commonly mounted on the opposite side of where the light is facing. So for example, if the light is mounted facing South, the solar panel will be facing North, and an East facing light will position the solar panel facing West. Even if the solar panel faces the same direction as the light, it is still limited on its orientation. This is where there can be a problem. Those unfamiliar with solar may not realize that solar panels should face South to have the best exposure. A West or East facing solar panel should allow for the light to work, but with reduced reliability. However, in no instance should a solar panel face North. In this case the light may hardly work at all. You may find your application requires the solar panel to be mounted in an unfavorable direction, or even in a location that may be heavily shaded. In this situation you will want to consider a solar light with a separately mounted solar panel.
One Size Fits All
All-in-one style lights are usually supplied as a ¡°one size fits all¡± solution. The solar panel and battery are not sized appropriately for your location. Since solar conditions and night lengths vary across the country, this means all-in-one lights will perform better in some areas than others. With this in mind, those in northern climates may need to be prepared for the light to not illuminate consistently throughout the year. It is likely you will encounter shorter illumination times during winter months. If you are mainly concerned about lighting for the first portion of the evening, or live in a favorable climate, then this option may be a good fit for you. However, if you require consistent and reliable illumination year round, then you may want to look into a lighting system that is sized appropriately for your location.
Power Saving Modes
Almost every all-in-one style light will work by some kind of power saving mode. Due to the compact nature of the design, the solar panel on these lights are usually pretty small. Since the small solar panel can only create so much energy, the light must work in some sort of power saving mode to conserve energy. You¡¯ll find this means the lights will only activate at full power when motion is detected, or they may start at full power at sunset and then dim down as the night progresses. Some may not make it to sunrise at all. This may not be a good fit for high traffic areas, or locations that require the light to remain at full power for extended periods of time.
Maintenance and Repair
All-in-one lights have popped up in many large e-commerce and brick and mortar retail stores. They are often sold by companies that have no experience in the solar industry, and may only be around to make a quick dollar. This can become a problem when it comes to making any repairs on the light fixture. These lights can be complex to repair, and it is very difficult to source replacement batteries ¨C that is if the included batteries are even replaceable. You may find you have purchased a product from a company/seller that cannot support the product, or may not even be in business when the time comes around. That is why if you decide to purchase an all-in-one style light, you should ensure the company is specialized in the industry, offers a good warranty, and will still be around when you need help. All-in-one lights are a great option for some customers. We¡¯ve had much success in offering these types of lights throughout the years. Our sales team are very knowledgeable on our products, and are happy to assist you in determining if one of these style lights are a good fit for you. You may come to find a different type of solar light will be better suited for your project. If that turns out to be the case, then we can direct you to a different product that will suit your needs. Our commercial grade, built to suit systems offer much more flexibility and can work in almost all situations.
Alternative to All-in-One Lights: Built to Suit Options
Another way to approach a solar lighting project is to purchase a system that has been supplied with appropriate equipment for your requirements. We offer these commercial grade systems which are built to suit. They will include a separately mounted solar panel, battery enclosure, and light fixture. With the components as separate units, it allows for more flexibility installing the system. The solar panel can always face south, and the other equipment can be installed however necessary. A separate solar panel also allows for it to be installed in a favorable location where it can receive the most sun exposure. This type of system may require a little more time to install, and are not as compact, but their flexibility and reliability cannot be competed with.
Designed For You
Our built to suit options are supplied with the solar panel and battery configuration sized appropriately for your requirements and location. If you require your 10 watt LED to run all night long in the dead of winter in Detroit, then we can supply the correct equipment to achieve this. All of our commercial systems include equipment to enable your light to perform reliably during the harshest time of the year. This ensures you have consistent illumination year round. Additionally, these systems include a minimum of three days reserve power. The reserve time can be increased by including larger batteries if your project requires it. We offer AGM or gel batteries (for harsh climates) ¨C both options are made in the USA. With all these precautions taken, your light should perform consistently come rain or shine.
Custom Illumination Schedule
You want to power a 40 watt LED all night long without any dimming? We can make it happen. With a separately mounted solar panel and batteries, we can be very flexible in the lighting options. We can incorporate full power modes, dimming modes, motion sensors, light switches, etc. The charge controllers included in our systems allow for many options in the illumination schedule. Some of these options can be seen here:
Built for the Long Run
Our commercial systems include a 20 year solar panel warranty and a 10 year warranty on the other components. Since they are component based, these systems can have different parts changed easily. You also have the option of upgrading components as the years progress. Not to mention you are purchasing from an established company that has specialized in solar lighting for over 18 years. No matter what type of solar product you decide to go with, you can be rest assured that we will provide you with the best information to make your decision. Whether you decide to move forward with an all-in-one style light, or a built to suit commercial system, we will be there support you before and after you make your purchase. Reach out to our sales team, and we¡¯ll give you our expert advice.