What Are Solar Yard Lights?

Solar yard lights fascinate me. Solar lighting is something you’ve probably heard about over the years, but probably figured solar-powered lights were for so-called “tree-huggers” and people living in the western deserts. Actually, solar yard lighting allows you to be environmentally friendly and cost effective without solar yard lighting installation becoming a huge hassle. In fact, you don’t have to know how solar yard lighting works to install solar lights in your yard in under 15 minutes.

Note that when you buy solar yard lights, they will be expensive compared to the standard yard lights you’re used to purchasing. But given that you’ll save on electricity bills for the life of each solar yard light, the high front-end cost is well worth the price of solar yard lighting. These devices work on the solar principle. As long as you place these yard lights where they are directly in the Sun, they will be able to store up solar light throughout the day. At night, the lights will turn on and shine brightly without the need of electrical cords or running up electric bills.

How Does Solar Yard Lighting Work?


Solar yard lighting consists of a few basic components. There are five major components: a solar cell, a tiny controller board, a photoresistor, an LED light source and a Nicad battery (usually AA).

“LED” is short for “light emitting diode”. A light emitting diodes are extremely small light bulbs that fit into electronic circuitry. Light emitting diodes are different than normal light bulbs, though. First, they don’t get very hot in comparison to a light bulb. Just as important, light emitting diodes don’t burn out. Electrons in the diode’s semiconductor material are what causes the diode to radiate light. LED light sources are what make the solar yard lights radiate at night.

The solar cell is what collects light during the day, when the Sun is shining on the solar yard lights. This solar cell conducts light to the AA Nicad battery, which is made to store up solar energy. When it gets night time, the battery is able to power the LED light source all night.

Meanwhile, the controller board is simply a tiny electronic device that tells the solar yard lights when to turn on and shut off. More accurately, the controller board tells the battery when to send energy to the LED light source. The photoresistor is a tiny device made to detect darkness. It’s like the photoresistors you’ll see in road lights, that shut on when it turns dark. The photoresistor sends a signal to the controller board, the controller board sends a signal to the battery, the battery sends juice to the light emitting diode and the solar yard lights turn on for the night. In the morning, they shut off automatically.

Finally, these five components are placed in a plastic solar yard light case, which houses and protects these essential five mechanisms from the elements. All put together, the solar yard lights are placed in the yard in the pattern you want them in, keeping in mind that the lights need to be exposed to the sunlight all day, and you have solar yard lighting in your yard. It’s really simple.