Maintaining Solar Powered Lights
Solar lighting has become a popular choice in updating walkways, landscaping, and any place an outdoor light is needed. Solar lighting is not only great for reducing energy costs, but they are easy to install. Since solar lights store energy collected by the panels into a battery for later use, that means there are no wires to have to hide or that will limit where you can install your lights Plus, if your electricity goes out, your outdoor lighting will stay on, maintaining safety and security. Today’s solar lights are also available in decorative designs to fit your style.
Solar lights are also easy to maintain. Your lights can last for 10 years, without replacements, as long as they are inspected and cleaned a few times a year. If you reside in the desert or high pollen area, you will want to clean the fixtures a little more often. Let’s go over some simple cleaning tips for your solar lights:
First, check with your solar panel or fixture’s manufacturer. They may have specific recommendations for cleaning.
Solar panels do get hot in direct sunlight. Try to clean your solar panels on a relatively cool day, either earlier in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Typically, a quick spray with a garden hose is good enough to do the job. However, if you have a large buildup of dust and dirt, then a bucket or spray bottle filled with warm water and soap will provide a more thorough cleaning.
Do not use an abrasive or detergent cleanser. You want to avoid scratching the glass.
Clean the surface of the solar panel with a soft cloth or sponge. You can also use a soft squeegee.
A good rain can clean your solar panels, However, this works best when the panels are tilted (on a roof, for instance).
If you do need to clean panels on your roof, remember¡safety first…consider hiring professional solar panel cleaners for the job.
The southwest region of the United States has limited rainfall for quite a few months out of the year, so the accumulation of dirt or pollen is greater. Also, solar panels that are installed near sources of pollution such as freeways, factories and airports may need to be cleaned more often.
Consider the season you are in. Removing leaves and snow during autumn and winter can optimize your panel or fixture’s performance.
Tips for Enhancing Your Solar Lights
The use of solar power has continued to grow in popularity. The biggest advantage of investing in solar powered fixtures is the reduction that they can make on your energy bill by consuming less power. They also require little maintenance aside from the occasional cleaning. Often solar lights feature photocells, so you do not need to worry about turning them on at night or off in the morning. Let’s go over some tips to get the most out of solar lights.
It’s important to pick the best spot in your lawn when placing your solar light fixture. Find a spot that receives very little, or ideally no, shade throughout the day. This ensures it will receive a full charge by sundown. Make sure the solar panels are not facing east of west. If the panels are facing in either of these directions, you will be missing out on half a day’s worth of energy as the sun passes behind the panel. If you live north of the equator, your solar panels should face the south and vice versa for those south of the equator. This placement at a 45 degree tilt up will help maximize the amount of solar energy collected.
It’s easy to guess that summer is the best season for solar energy, with its long days and short nights. However, there are ways to help the other 3 seasons increase efficiency. In the springtime, simply cleaning off dust and pollen should be enough. Just be sure you’re using a damp paper towel without any type of soap or cleaning solution as those can damage the panels.
Autumn is like spring, with the added chore of clearing off any fallen leaves. Winter is the problem season (shocker) when it comes to solar power since it has shorter days to charge up and longer nights to power through. Here’s a trick that can help increase how much sunlight reaches your solar panels; utilize a mirror. If possible with your setup, attach a mirror parallel to the ground in front of the panel. This allows sunlight that would normally hit the panel directly bounce off the mirror and back into the panel. And, just like the other seasons, you’ll need to clear off dust, debris and now snow as needed.