Over the past decade, solar power has become one of the most effective renewable energy sources available, with many countries encouraging households to invest in solar panels.
As a new technological breakthrough, solar lighting offers cost-efficient, environmentally sustainable lighting for new homes. Whether you’re in the market for solar panels or interested in buying a new home, here’s the scoop on solar lighting.
What is Solar Lighting?
Throughout the day, solar lights collect energy from the sun and transforms it into electricity through the photovoltaic (PV) effect. This energy is stored in a rechargeable gel–cell battery for later use.
The energy absorbed by solar panels can be used for various purposes—from lighting your home to generating electricity and heating water.
What are the Two Types of Solar Lighting?
As technology has evolved, solar lighting systems have become more advanced with indoor and outdoor solar lights. This innovation provides more options for lighting new homes.
Outdoor solar lights can be used for anything from lighting driveways at night to festive illumination for your deck, backyard, or terrace. These outdoor solar lights collect enough energy from the sun to last up to 10 hours.
In addition to their cost-effectiveness and limited maintenance requirements, outdoor solar lights allow you to choose their location. Unlike their conventional counterparts, outdoor solar lights have no wires, meaning you are free to pick the space you want. Additionally, some outdoor solar lights include remote collector panels. To capture the maximum amount of sun, you will want to set them in direct sunlight.
Indoor solar lights are also available in several different types, including desk lamps and shed lights. These lighting systems are restricted for indoor use and are connected to solar panels on the roof of your home.
How is Solar Lighting Being Used in New Homes?
Thanks to technological advancements, solar lights are becoming increasingly affordable, efficient, and accessible to new homeowners interested in cutting energy costs. In new homes, solar lighting is primarily used to provide outdoor lighting during the evening.
Homeowners have a wide variety of options when lighting new homes. Thus, countless choices offer different functional and aesthetic purposes.
For example, some solar lights for outdoor illumination include solar flood lights, solar streetlights, solar pathway lights, and solar string lights. Meanwhile, indoor options include solar hanging lights, solar desk lamps, and solar skylights.
With so many different choices available, it’s essential to analyze your home and its needs before you start shopping. Generally, 100 lumens is considered bright enough for walkways – 75 lumens is ideal for gatherings, and 50 lumens is sufficient enough to add dimension, according to the experts at Solar Magazine.
Advantages of Solar Lighting for New Homes
With its excellent environmental benefits, solar lighting helps make your home more sustainable, serve as a unique selling point, and reduce your electricity bill. Some of the significant benefits of solar lighting include:
- Environmental sustainability: Solar lights play a major role in reducing your global carbon footprint by utilizing renewable energy to decrease the problems created by our planet’s nonrenewable resources’ exhaustion.
- Unlimited energy: Whether you install solar lighting in your backyard or add a solar lamp in your dining room, they offer an unlimited source of energy. As long as the location of your home gets ample amounts of daily sunlight, you’ll be able to use solar lights to produce energy year-round.
- Cost-effectiveness: The most significant advantage of solar lighting is its cost-reduction capability. Although solar lights typically require a higher upfront investment, they pay for themselves over time and require little maintenance throughout the year.
- Home value increase: Multiple studies have found that solar lighting systems can boost your home’s market value. Various market factors like electricity rate and system price play a substantial role in market value. “A solar home, when properly valued, tends to sell more quickly than a home without solar,” according to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Disadvantages of Solar Lighting for New Homes
Solar lighting offers an array of benefits, but it’s essential to understand their potential disadvantages before investing, including:
- High initial costs: Solar power is a significant investment, as materials and installation often require steep upfront initial costs. However, with the reduction in solar energy costs over the last decade, the costs have been decreasing.
- Weather-dependency: Because solar panels are dependent on sunlight to collect energy effectively, a few cloudy, rainy days can dramatically affect the system’s efficiency. The Office of U.S. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s guidelines state, “A solar lighting system will work well only as long as the solar cells receive the manufacturer’s recommended hours of sunlight.”
- Space requirements: You must have enough space available to install the appropriate number of solar panels required to light your home. Solar PV panels require sizeable storage space, and some roofs can’t accommodate them.
Solar lighting systems present a viable energy-efficient alternative to nonrenewable energy. Although it might seem complicated, installing a solar lighting system in your new home is a smart investment. While they may seem like a hefty investment upfront, solar lights and bulbs pay for themselves over time, allowing you to enjoy electricity bill savings for years to come.
Joanna Dorman is a freelance writer with over 16 years of experience creating interior design, home building, home improvement, and real estate content. Additionally, she has 15 years of field experience in the interior design industry and trained in interior design at the Art Institute of Houston.