Solar Christmas Lights: Are They Worth It?
Solar Christmas lights are like ordinary Christmas lights – but they’re powered by the sun.
Solar Christmas lights come with a solar panel. That solar panel absorbs energy from the sun during the day, then uses that energy to power the Christmas lights at night. Instead of connecting your Christmas lights to your home’s electrical grid, you can use energy from the sun.
Some people like solar Christmas lights because they reduce environmental impact. Others like solar Christmas lights because they help you save money.
Are solar Christmas lights worth it? Should you buy solar Christmas lights for your home? Keep reading to find out.
What Are Solar Christmas Lights?
Solar Christmas lights are decorative Christmas lights powered by solar electricity instead of your home’s electricity.
Ordinary Christmas lights need to be plugged into your house to work. They use your home’s electricity. You plug the lights into an exterior electrical outlet using an extension cord.
With solar Christmas lights, the lights are powered by a small solar panel at one end. This solar panel absorbs energy from the sun during the day. The panel transfers this energy into electricity, then stores it in a battery. Once the sun goes down, the lights automatically turn on, using electricity from the battery to stay lit up.
Most solar lights use LEDs. LEDs aren’t as bright as the incandescent bulbs we see with traditional Christmas lights. However, they’re more energy-efficient. A good solar Christmas light array can last several hours on a single day’s charge. Even if you live at northern latitudes with little sunlight, your solar Christmas lights could absorb enough electricity to stay lit up for hours due to the efficient LEDs.
How Much Do Solar Christmas Lights Cost?
Solar Christmas lights are more expensive than traditional Christmas lights. They use LEDs and have more technology than traditional Christmas lights.
However, some homeowners find that solar Christmas lights pay for themselves over time. Instead of spending hundreds of extra dollars on electricity bills every December, you can install solar Christmas lights to save money.
Solar-powered lights generally cost 30% to 50% more than traditional Christmas lights. That may sound expensive. In reality, however, it only adds $10 to $20 to the cost of an average Christmas light array. You can find a 100-foot strand of traditional Christmas lights for around $30, for example, with a similar length of solar-powered Christmas lights priced at around $45.
However, costs vary widely depending on the quality of solar Christmas lights. Some higher-end solar Christmas lights can cost as much as $40 for a 40-foot strand.
The Technology Behind Solar Christmas Lights
Most solar Christmas lights work similarly to other solar-powered lights around your home. The lights have a photovoltaic solar panel on one end. That panel absorbs sunlight during the day, transforming that energy into electricity and storing it in a battery for later use.
Most solar Christmas lights use a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery. When night falls, the battery gets activated, sending electricity to the solar-powered Christmas lights.
You can find solar Christmas lights with different shapes and varieties. Most people use the same strands as ordinary Christmas lights. However, you can also find icicle-style solar Christmas lights, door and window lights, bush and tree lights, and other unique options.
Why Buy Solar Christmas Lights?
There are several advantages to buying solar Christmas lights, including obvious and less-obvious advantages.
Here are some of the reasons to consider buying solar Christmas lights:
- Cost Savings: Christmas lights will increase your electricity bill. Sure, most Christmas lights don’t significantly add to your bill. However, if you have a larger array or live in an area with expensive electricity, then you could save a substantial amount of money by switching to solar Christmas lights.
- Convenience: Solar Christmas lights may be more convenient. Solar Christmas lights use LED bulbs that are approximately 10x as efficient as the older, incandescent bulbs used in traditional Christmas light strings.
- No Need to Replace Bulbs: Because solar Christmas lights use LEDs, you won’t need to replace the bulbs as they die. They last 10x longer. Incandescent bulbs, on the other hand, have filaments that burn out easily.
- Less Breakage and More Durability: LEDs are made from plastic, which doesn’t break as easily as glass.
- Clean Energy: Solar Christmas lights use renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted. Solare energy is hitting your home every day. Solar Christmas lights allow you to capture this energy and enjoy clean, renewable power.
Downsides of Solar Christmas Lights
Solar Christmas lights may not be the right choice for everyone. Some of the reasons not to buy solar Christmas lights include:
- Different Lighting and Colors: LED Christmas lights look different than traditional Christmas lights. Some notice this difference more than others.
- You Need Sunlight: If you live at a northern latitude, have a lot of trees, or live in a place with bad winter weather, then you may struggle to get enough sunlight on your solar panels every day. Even though solar Christmas lights are highly efficient, you may not get enough sunlight every day to charge your lights.
- Upfront Cost: It costs more money to install solar Christmas lights. If you plan to buy a whole set of solar Christmas lights for your house, then you could spend hundreds of dollars more than you would with traditional Christmas lights. On average, you can expect to spend around $40 on a 40-foot strand of solar LED Christmas lights.
- Less Brightness: Solar Christmas lights aren’t as bright and noticeable as ordinary Christmas lights. Even when fully charged, some solar Christmas lights only glow for a few hours after the sun goes down, and some are disappointed by the brightness of the glow. If you don’t get much sunlight in your area, then you may be extra disappointed by the appearance of solar Christmas lights.
Final Word on Solar Christmas Lights
Solar Christmas lights are becoming more popular every year. Many people like solar Christmas lights for the cost savings and environmental sustainability. However, some are disappointed by the brightness and coloring of solar Christmas lights.
Consider buying solar Christmas lights online today to see if they’re the right choice for your home this holiday season.