The holiday season has arrived, and it’s time to unravel your extension cords and string up those Christmas lights. They may not look like much, but they do use electricity – if you keep your string lights up for several weeks, you may end up with a surprisingly large electric bill after all those presents are unwrapped. Luckily, solar isn’t just for your rooftop: it also offers a renewable alternative to conventional holiday lights. Solar Christmas lights are a great option for energy-conscious holiday decorators.
How do solar Christmas lights work?
Solar Christmas lights are like normal decorative Christmas lights, except that they are powered by the sun.
Typical Christmas lights use energy from the grid to light up your home, which means you need to run an extension cord from your home to where you’ve hung your lights. With solar-powered lights, you can forget the extension cord. Instead, your lights attach to a small solar panel at their end which uses the sun’s energy to charge an attached battery during the day. When the sun sets, a light sensor will automatically turn your solar lights on using the rechargeable battery.
Solar lights usually use LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs. LEDs are slightly less bright than traditional incandescents but are far more energy efficient and can be run on just a few hours of sunlight stored in a battery. The small solar panel that powers solar Christmas lights is usually attached to a stake that you can place in a sunny spot in your yard to charge up the battery during the day.
What will solar Christmas lights cost you?
Solar Christmas lights will have a higher up-front cost than conventional plug-in options. (However, remember that you’re saving money in the form of lower electricity bills!) In general, prices for solar-powered lights are around 30 to 50 percent higher. Because Christmas lights are not a very expensive item to begin with, this price difference usually amounts to less than $10. For example, a 100-foot strand of solar powered lights on Amazon might cost around $30, with a comparable 100-foot string of normal plug-in lights coming in just above $20.
Where to buy solar Christmas lights
Investing in some strings of solar powered Christmas lights is a great way to do your part in supporting energy-saving technologies during this holiday season. While they may cost more than standard lights up front, you may see small savings on your energy bill depending on how long you choose to have the lights up.
Home Depot, Amazon, and Lowe’s all have solar-powered Christmas light options, including both colored and white bulbs. Everyone loves a white Christmas, but with a set of solar Christmas lights, this year’s holiday season just might get a little bit greener.
Explore the EnergySage Solar Marketplace for home solar solutions
Solar energy can do a whole lot more than power your Christmas lights, and the best place to compare options for home solar installations is the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. By registering your property to get solar quotes, you can compare offers side by side from qualified, pre-vetted installers near you.