Walking in the light is something we have been encouraged to do since time immemorial. Now we can do it with ease with solar path lighting. It’s an innovative way to use solar power for more leisurely aspects of our lives, and one I fully approve of.
I live in suburbia, so my yard is important to me. Street lighting isn’t the best where I live, so a little extra illumination on the way from the road to my door is welcome. I could waste my money on a large porch light, but then my neighbors get to see it too. It would also shine into the house, which I don’t want.
Security isn’t really an issue, it’s a safe neighborhood and I have my dogs to warn me. They would detect nefarious characters long before any outdoor lighting would.
I have a porch light anyway, but a standard one, not a floodlight, which is which is what I would need to shine the entire path. So, solar path lighting is the way forward. In a south facing yard it isn’t an issue. Were I facing north, things would be different.
Solar path lighting works in exactly the same way as our larger solar projects. Ground-mounted lights have a spike to drive into the ground, the light housing and a small solar panel on the top. The mechanics of everything is hidden away inside the light housing.
The panel still harvests sunlight, the small battery stores it for night and that’s pretty much it. There’s no need for an inverter, as the LED lights run on DC current. The simpler the better, that makes them cheap and easy to produce.
LED bulbs are used because their power consumption is a fraction of what a standard filament bulb needs. An LED bulb can put out as much light, if not more, at a higher luminescence, but use very little power. That makes them ideal for solar path lighting.
The self-contained format is great as there is no wiring involved. Just pick your site, ensure there is an unobstructed view of the sun, push into the ground and leave them to it. Give the panels a wipe every now and then to keep them running happily and that’s all there is to it.
Solar path lighting isn’t rocket science, but it’s another example of using renewable technology to benefit people who wouldn’t normally be exposed to it. Much like solar phone chargers I spoke about the other day, their main benefit is in popularizing solar technology as much as solving a problem.
That’s how they will really benefit the planet. Sure, it’s nice to be able to walk down my path without standing in something sticky the dog left behind. It’s nice to have a landscape feature that stands out without causing light pollution. But it’s nicer to have a technology I love popularized in such an accessible way.