Do you live in a northern state? How many sunny days do you have per year? Meanwhile, you would anyway need to illuminate your yard. Outdoor lighting adds beauty to your space. However, do solar lights work in winter? Which temperature and amount of light are sufficient? Let’s discuss the essential conditions for the garden illumination. Is any additional maintenance necessary?
What does your winter look like? Here in San Jose, winters are warm and pretty comfortable. Therefore, the best solar disk lights work quite good in our region. Their performance is not bad.
However, winter is a rainy season. For example, in December, up to 10 days are wet. The month is characterized by:
- The average nighttime temperatures of about 42°F.
- 4 – 4.2 inches of rain.
- Increasing cloud cover.
The time when the sky is overcast is increasing from 49% to 54% throughout December. Meanwhile, the shortest day here is still December, 22. It grants us 9 hours 35 minutes of the beneficial daylight. Is the day length much different on the north? For example, in New York, it’s 9 hours 15 minutes. However, in June, it’s about 15 hours. Does it affect the lights’ efficiency?
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Does Solar Lights Work in Winter?
Do the low solar activity actually contribute to cold temperatures in winter? At least the scientists assert it. Here, in California, this link is feebly marked. We experience freezings only 4-5 days per year.
What happens with the lights if the weather is cold like in Alaska? Do they work when the temperature is about 10 degrees? They do if they receive daylight. At least, the best solar landscape lights work.
The process is the following:
- the panel is illuminated;
- the photovoltaic cell converts the sunlight into electric energy;
- the batteries are powered.
The mandatory condition exists. The amount of sunlight during the day is to be sufficient. As to the coldness, it’s not crucial. Lower ambient temperature is even beneficial. The efficiency of the photovoltaic element increases.
Do Solar Lights Work in the Shade?
Quite naturally, light intensity factors into the cell performance. It’s directly proportional to the current produced.
|Light intensity, Sun||Photovoltaic cell efficiency, %|
So, the light intensity is commonly measured in suns. 1 Sun is equal to 1000 W/m2 (watt per sq. meter). The photovoltaic cell efficiency can be shown in percent.
Additionally, the sun’s angle matters. If it’s from 0° to 50°, the element’s performance is the best. When it’s higher, the amount of solar energy falls up swiftly.
The Shade Sources
In the shade, the winter solar lights still work. Their output is significantly reduced. Clouds absorb some sunlight. On a cloudy or rainy day, the elements produce less energy.
However, check your space. The shade can be produced by:
- trees and plants;
- garden furniture and landscape structures;
- the house.
Therefore, it’s important to select a good location for every light item. It is to be placed in a sunny spot. The element’s efficiency would be higher.
How to Charge Solar Lights in Winter?
Another important part of the light is the battery. Quite naturally, it’s rechargeable. The batteries are always charged in the same way. The season doesn’t matter. However, the type of batteries matter. The common ones are:
- ion lithium;
- nickel cadmium.
Lithium batteries are usually applied to power solar lights. They are reliable and efficient. How long do solar lights last? Are they equipped with lithium-ion batteries? Their lifespan is not less than 5-15 years.
The batteries withstand up to 5000 charging cycles. Additionally, they are compact and sleek by design. However, their operating range is still limited. It’s recommended to charge the battery at the temperature from 50° to 86 ° F. Storage and operating temperature can be much lower.
The day length is shorter in winter. Sunny hours can be not sufficient. Quite naturally, the battery is charged. But the energy it low. The lights won’t stay lit all night through. They may just switch off in several hours. Motion-activated devices would be beneficial in winter. Otherwise, the batteries are to be recharged quite often.
If they switch on accidentally, it looks like a kind of technology misbehave. If the day is extremely cloudy, it might happen. Otherwise, the reason can be detected only by professionals. The same concerns Christmas lights. Solar string lights not working are uncommon. They are designed to illuminate the holiday for several hours only. I think the wires might be disconnected. Check them or buy a new Christmas-tree set. Repair charges could be expensive.
Here, in San Jose, the amount of snowy days per year makes 0. It means snowfall is a very rare occurrence in the city. However, if it still happens, will the lights work? Their performance is significantly confined. The reason is as the snow:
- adds some weight;
- covers the panels;
- can damage the surface.
Snow is not heavy. The lights withstand it easily. If they are tilted, the snow slides off. However, if the light fixtures are covered, they don’t produce electricity. Therefore, the snow is to be cleaned off. Use only the special tool, like a snow rack to do it! The panels should not be damaged!
Would you plug Christmas lights into the solar panel? If the weather is sunny and cold, it’s possible. I’d say, it’s quite efficient. However, the weather on Christmas Eve in San Jose could be wet. A sunny, snowy day somewhere in Alaska would be even more suitable. The batteries would be completely charged. As to the landscape lights, they can be used in winter. With them, your garden looks beautiful and illuminated. It’s safe and beneficial any time of the year.