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What Kind of Batteries Can I Use in Solar Lights?
Every day more and more people are opting to go green and reduce
their overall energy consumption with the use of solar energy.
There are a number of different uses for solar
power including solar
home heating, solar water
heating, and solar cooking, and the popular and easy to use
LED solar garden lights. Although light from the sun is
plentiful, there needs to be a way to store that energy -- for
example, with the use of a battery. What kind of batteries can
I use in solar lights?
Solar garden lights collect energy within a panel.
Solar cells need direct sunlight to
charge, so generally speaking, on long, sunny summer days, it's much
easier to achieve a full charge than on cloudy days or during short
winter days. The battery stores this energy.
Solar batteries are typically made from Nickel Cadmium (NiCd).
The batteries are rechargeble (charged by the solar panels) and
can generally last one to two years. Batteries should be replaced
annually, since defective batteries can make your lights operate
much less efficiently (or not at all).
Some solar lights use NiMH batteries instead. These batteries
have different characteristics than the NiCd batteries and should
not be used interchangeably. Always read the documentation that
comes with your lights to see what type of batteries are needed.
NiCd batteries must be disposed of properly, due to harmful
toxins contained within them. NiMH batteries, on the other hand,
can be disposed of without harming the environment. NiMH batteries
also tend to stand up better to the constant re-charging.
Solar garden lights have become much more effective in recent
years, using efficient LED lamps with long lifespans. Solar lights
should be placed where sunlight is most plentiful, without shade.
Batteries that are fully charged can provide 10 to 12 hours of
illumination during the night. The light will be strongest during
the first few hours of operation, then gradually taper off as the
energy in the battery is used up. Then, during the day when the
sun re-appears, the batteries are re-charged. Good-quality solar
lights can usually provide enough illumination from dusk until dawn
if they are fully charged. Always use the right kind of batteries
for your solar lights so that they operate at their best.