Solar Christmas Lights Make The Switch Or Not

Dated: 12/02/2016

Views: 127

I wanted to share this article by Alyson McNutt English, since it is something I have considered and actually have used for my daughters wedding.

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           Solar Christmas Lights: Should You Make the Switch?



  


Solar Christmas lights don’t cost anything to operate, but are they better than plug-in LED strings?

In the last few years, energy-efficient LED holiday lights have largely replaced more wattage-thirsty incandescent strings, resulting in significant savings -- LED lights use 50% less energy than their incandescent predecessors, and they last up to 10 times longer as well.

Now there’s a newish kid in the string-light neighborhood: LED solar Christmas lights promise grid-free festive lighting.

Powering Up Solar Christmas Lights

A string of solar Christmas lights uses a small solar panel for power; there are no extension cords that must be plugged into outlets. The panel -- about the size of a hockey puck -- powers rechargeable batteries that illuminate a 25- to 100-bulb string of LED lights.
Panels come with small stakes so you can put them in the ground, where they can take advantage of the sun. A fully-charged string of lights should glow for six to eight hours after the sun goes down.

Related: Christmas Lighting Tips to Save Time and Money

Solar Lights vs. LED Plug-In Costs

Pricing for solar-powered and plug-in LED holiday lights runs neck and neck. Compare purchase prices:

  • A 100-light string of miniature solar-powered LED lights costs about $10 and up.  

  • A 100-light string of miniature plug-in LED lights costs about $10 and up.

Compare costs to operate:

  • Operating a string of plug-in LED holiday lights for 300 hours -- more than enough time for an entire holiday season -- costs about 24 cents, using an average energy cost of 12 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).

  • Solar-powered Christmas lights, of course, don’t cost anything to operate. That means you’re saving 24 cents per year in energy costs.

Advantages of Solar Lights

  • No extension cords

  • No need for exterior electrical outlets

  • Withstand cold temperatures and precipitation

  • Zero cost to operate

  • Light output comparable to plug-in lighting

  • Green option

Disadvantages of Solar Christmas Lights

  • May not operate under cloudy skies

  • Unproven longevity (too new on the market for results)

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Eileen Waller

Originally from Miami, Eileen relocated to Tallahassee 35 years ago. She met her husband of 32 years while attending Florida State University and soon after they feel in love with one another they al....

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