Commercial Solar Lights or Low Voltage Lights?
Posted by Becky Johanson in The Basics.
If you are looking for alternatives for standard lighting on your commercial property, most contractors will offer you the choice between low voltage lights and commercial solar lights. If you are wondering what the difference is, and which one is better for your needs, here is a handy comparison of the two.
Commercial solar lights
Solar lights require no cables or access to the electrical grid, since they come with their own power generating solar panel, as well as batteries to store the energy collected during the day. Another advantage of solar lights to regular ones is the ease of installation. Once you have decided where you want to put them, you just do it, with no hassle around electrical installations. Similarly, if you want to move or remove them, the process is as easy as picking them up and moving them to the desired location. Commercial solar lights are now available in a variety of shapes, forms and sizes for a myriad of applications. The downside of solar lights is that they require the sun to function properly, meaning that the site you pick for your solar lighting fixture needs to be exposed to direct sunlight in order to charge the battery.
Low voltage lights are not much different from regular lights. The key difference is that regular lights work on the standard grid voltage of 110-120 volts, whereas low voltage ones work on just 12 volts. This is made possible through technological advancements over the recent years. Incandescent lights require high voltage since the majority of energy used for them is wasted on heat. Low voltage lights use more advanced technologies which enable better energy management and less waste. However, since your house is powered via an electrical grid of 110-120 volts, installing low voltage lights does mean installing a transformer as well as special cables and light fixtures.
As mentioned before, solar lighting is a lot simpler to install. It does not depend on any external power grid and requires no further installation after it has been set up. The only concern you have is that your solar panel gets plenty of sunlight during the day. Low voltage lighting, on the other side does require all of the above. You will need to have constant access to the grid, as well as dig through the area you are lighting to put cables in. Furthermore, the transformer will also need to be installed. So, if you are looking to make as little change to the scenery as possible, solar lights seem as a better option.
There is not much maintenance involved in any of the two systems. Apart from changing the light bulbs once they break down (which is rare for both systems) and occasional cleaning to keep the light output to the maximum, there isn't much that needs to be done. The solar panel also needs to be kept clean to ensure the best sunlight absorption and longer battery life.
Which is better?
There is no single answer to this question. What you need to do is carefully measure your needs, your budget and the expected results. There are three key reasons people put on landscape light: security, ease of movement, and decoration. If you are looking for something that requires less maintenance that easily connects to the main power grid, choose low voltage. If you are looking for a long-term solution that will save you long-term costs while also does not detract from the natural environment, choose solar. Either way, contact Greenshine for a consultation on your energy needs.
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