solar vs. low voltage

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by SoDak, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. SoDak

    SoDak LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    I am looking for research that might suggest that, in the long run, using cheap solar lights is actually less environmentally friendly than using well made, long lasting lights.

    The public's perception is that solar lights use less energy than traditional low voltage systems. While this may be true on the individual's level (even though they look like crap), is it true from a macro standpoint in terms of manufacturing, replacement frequency, waste, etc?

    How much energy might the companies be using that are making cheap lights, sold by the millions, and replaced by the millions, because they don't last?

    I think that if people really want to go green, then they should be purchasing products that last, so that there is less waste in this world.

    Any thoughts?
  2. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    You are on the right track.....what good is a light that uses less energy and can last 15 years producing light yet the housing is falling a part and needs to be replaced after 5 years? What service are you doing the environment if you have to replace these lights every 5-10 years due to inferior design and poor quality components. Forget that solar landscape lights produce some of the worst looking light there is and they have zero output, most are made out of cheap plastic and aluminum which is guaranteed to fail at some point in the landscape.
  3. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,625

    I think the simple fact that it takes about 10 solar lights to light the area of 1 regular area light should be included in your thesis, I'm sure it's cheaper/ more "green" to only manufacture that 1 12V area light vs the 10 needed to light the same space solarly.
  4. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    I'm not sure if 12 solar lights can do the work of 1 20 watt path. I know of one business sign ( lawnmower repair shop) that has a direction sign at his turn off on a gravel road. he mounted 10 solar paths all over his wood sign to illuminate it at night. you cannot read the sign, but you can see 10 blueish glowing things up in the air. I'm not sure if 30 of those would actually do the job of what 1 20 watt halogen mr-16 bullet with a 60 degree spread would do.

    most solars I've seen put out less than 4 lumens, compared to 200 for a good 20 watt low voltage bulb. The newest solar ones at Sam's club probably put out closer to 10 lumens, but still, you'd need 20 to get the same illumination, and then the solar path light still won't throw over a driveway or large path.

    I think the argument should be that solar lights, paths or spots, can't light a path or a house period, and barring that, I'd use a picture illustrating how many solar lights it would take to = one good path light in 20 years. my guess is at least 80, and that ain't green.
  5. worx

    worx LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 252

    I'd use a picture illustrating how many solar lights it would take to = one good path light in 20 years. my guess is at least 80, and that ain't green.

    I missed a prime opportunity to do this. I met with a couple that had 35 solar lights outlining the planting beds around the house. :cry:

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