The photon energy that is produced by the sun is clean, abundant and available to everyone free of charge. In the space of one second, our sun produces enough energy for almost 500,000 years of the current needs of our civilization. The light that is emitted from the sun contains photons, or heat, and when these photons are captured by solar paneling the energy can be harnessed and converted into power. Crystals made from silicon can produce this current but it is an expensive process to manufacture in large-scale applications. Wide-scale use of solar energy is limited for this reason. Research and development in the solar energy industry continues every day with the goal of making solar power affordable for the average household.

 

Solar lights come with some very basic components. The main part is the solar panel. Most solar lights have four solar cells that are connected in sequence.Beneath this solar panel you will find a rechargeable Ni-Cad battery, a central controlling board and one or multiple LED (light emitting diode) bulbs. The photcell sensor designed into solar lights serves to switch the light on or off depending on the availability of natural light. The solar panel is wired to a diode and then connected to the rechargeable Ni-Cad battery. The solar light absorbs charge throughout the day through the solar panel and the energy becomes stored in the batteries. Come nighttime, the charge is used to power the bulbs until the morning. The release of the charge is moderated by the control board.

 

The advantages of using solar lights rather than regular electrical lights are many:

  • Solar lights need no electricity and provide free lighting
  • Solar lights do not increase the carbon footprint of the property
  • Solar lights are moveable and can be relocated based on choice and/or availability of sunlight
  • Solar lights are great to decorate older homes where no electricity has been installed
  • Solar lights create magic in the landscape

 

We consume more fossil fuels than the Earth is able to replace and, as such,  solar lights and solar energy are fast becoming the new design trend for designers and homeowners alike. In February 2011 the Department of Energy invested sigificant amounts into the solar energy industry. Currently, the European manufacturing market is booming as a result of the current energy crisis. Solar installations are becoming more common throughout the world and there are even reports of solar lights being donated to African residents to allow them to save on kerosene costs.

 

Since their entry into the market in 2002, the design of solar lights has come a long way. Solar lights closely mimic the look of modern electrical lighting but rely on sustainable energy as a source of power. As we progress through the repercussions of the industrial revolution, the demand for solar energy and solar lights will only increase for the betterment of the energy industries.

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