One of the best parts about the holidays is seeing all of the light displays in your neighborhood. Some places even host competitions and ask people to vote on their favorite houses. Whether you are decorating to impress, or just to have fun, there is a good chance that a string or two of Christmas lights is part of your plan. 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, there is a pretty quick and easy way for you to keep your electricity bills down while still having a brightly decorated home–solar Christmas lights! 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.
- Solar Christmas lights are a great way to save on electricity while decorating your home for the holidays.
- Solar Christmas lights charge during the day, and then turn on automatically at night so you don’t have to worry about turning them on every day.
- Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to receive quotes from local installers and save money by powering your entire home with solar, not just your Christmas lights!
What’s in this article?
- How do solar Christmas lights work?
- What to look for in solar Christmas lights
- Buying solar Christmas lights
- Frequently asked questions about solar Christmas lights
How do solar Christmas lights work?
Solar Christmas lights are just like normal Christmas lights, except that they are powered by the sun! Traditional Christmas lights use your home’s electricity from the grid, which means you need to run an extension cord from an outlet 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 which uses the sun’s energy to charge an attached, rechargeable battery during the day. When the sun sets, a light sensor will automatically turn your solar lights on using the 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 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.
How do solar cells generate electricity?
A standard solar panel (also known as a solar module) consists of a layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing, and various wiring to allow current to flow from the silicon cells. Silicon (atomic #14 on the periodic table) is a nonmetal with conductive properties that allow it to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity. When light interacts with a silicon cell, it causes electrons to be set into motion, which initiates a flow of electric current. This is known as the “photovoltaic effect,” and it describes the general functionality of solar panel technology. To learn more about how solar panels work, check out our article on the topic.
What to look for in solar Christmas lights
Are your Christmas lights not working? Have you always wanted to light up the beautiful pine tree in your backyard, but don’t want to run an extension cord all the way from your garage? Are you trying to make your next holiday season a little more environmentally conscious? All of these and more are great reasons to start shopping for solar Christmas lights.
But, when you are shopping for solar Christmas lights, there are so many options that it can be hard to sift through them all and decide what to purchase. We’ve taken a look at a few key factors to consider when looking for your new solar Christmas lights.
Depending on what you are trying to decorate, you might have a lot of area to cover. Trying to decorate a big tree or put lights along the entire edge of your roof? You’ll need to take a look at how long the strand of solar Christmas lights you are purchasing is and whether it will cover the entire area you are trying to light up. If not, you may need to double or triple up, and will need to consider where you will place the solar panels that are attached to those additional strands of solar Christmas lights.
Lights per strand
In addition to length, the number of lights per strand will determine how much light (and color, if you are using colored lights) you are adding to an area. The more lights per strand, the brighter you are lighting up the outside of your home or other parts of your property you are trying to decorate. The lights per strand will likely be proportional to the length of the string of solar Christmas lights, but it is worth checking just to make sure you aren’t purchasing a sparse string of lights.
Everyone has their own vision for how to decorate their home for Christmas, and the lights you choose should fit that vision. Whether you are going for a full display of white lights or trying to have the most colorful home in the neighborhood, make sure that the solar Christmas lights you are choosing come in the color you are looking for. All of the options below have multiple single-color choices, as well as multicolor options.
Buying solar Christmas lights
Solar Christmas lights will have a higher up-front cost than conventional plug-in options – however, you will ultimately save money via lower monthly electricity bills! In general, prices for solar-powered Christmas lights are around 30 to 50 percent higher than traditional types of Christmas lights. Because Christmas lights are not a very expensive item to begin with, this price difference usually amounts to less than $10.
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 will see savings on your energy bill depending on how long you choose to have the lights up, especially if you are extending the holiday season and displaying your lights from Thanksgiving through New Years!
Buyer’s guide: solar Christmas lights
|Product||Price||Lights per strand||Length||Color options||Run time|
|Jedavai Solar String Lights||$15.99/strand||100||40 ft||Warm white, multicolor||Up to 10 hours|
|Joomer Solar String Lights||$18.99/strand||200||72 ft||White, warm white, red, orange, green, blue, multicolor||Up to 8 hours|
|Toodour Globe Solar String Lights||$25.99/strand||60||36 ft||Color changing options via remote control||Up to 10 hours|
|Ucutley Solar String Lights||$29.99/strand||300||108 ft||Warm white, green, multicolor||Up to 8 hours|
Jedavai solar Christmas lights come in two different colors–warm white and multicolor. Both options are able to operate in different light modes that include steadily on, twinkling, flashing, and more. These lights are larger, ball-shaped lights that can run for up to 10 hours on a full charge.
The Joomer solar Christmas lights are visually similar to what you might think of as traditional strings of Christmas lights, with small lights that are densely packed onto the string. These lights would be great for decorating outdoor trees or bushes, and come in a wide range of colors to let your decorating imagination run wild.
The “crystal ball” style Toodour solar Christmas lights can be set to 16 different colors including warm white, multicolor, red, green, and blue. You are able to change their color with the click of a button on a remote, allowing you to change up the color scheme of your light show on a nightly basis.
If you are trying to cover a lot of surface area with your solar Christmas lights, the Ucutley lights are a perfect pick. They offer the longest string of lights on our list, with 300 individual lights per strand. These lights also have four different brightness options and eight different light settings, all adjustable via remote.
Frequently asked questions about solar Christmas lights
Solar Christmas lights are designed to withstand the elements. You can leave them out in the rain and snow – just make sure they are well secured to whatever you are hanging them on so that wind doesn’t knock them down.
Solar Christmas lights are charged by the sun using their attached solar panel. You do not need to charge them separately from that. After you set up your solar Christmas lights, make sure the panel is placed in a sunny spot in your yard so that the battery on your lights can get a full charge. If you live somewhere that gets snow during the time that your solar Christmas lights are up, you may need to make sure that the solar panel attached to your solar Christmas lights is not covered in snow after a snowstorm.
Most solar Christmas lights are LEDs that only need a small amount of electricity to operate overnight, so even if there is an overcast day or bad weather, your lights will be able to turn on and run overnight.
Save money by installing solar
Solar is a great way to light up your home for Christmas, but it can do so much more! The best place to compare options for home solar installations is the EnergySage Marketplace. By registering your property to get solar quotes, you can compare offers side by side from qualified, pre-vetted installers near you and speak with an Energy Advisor to discuss which offer is the best for you. If you want to see how much you can save by going solar, check out our Solar Calculator for an instant estimate based on your unique property. If you’re a renter or you’re unable to install solar on your property, check out our Community Solar Marketplace – with community solar, you can still expect to save between 5 and 15 percent annually on electric bills.