Solar Driveway Lights – Traditional, Flush-Mounted, or Surface-Mounted?
If you are considering the installation of lights for your driveway, you may want to strongly take solar driveway lights into account. These compact and functional lights have taken off in popularity mainly due to solar technology advancements.
3 factors have contributed to these advancements:
(1) Increased Storage Capacity - The addition of Lithium and NiCad batteries allow more energy to be stored (that is transferred from the solar panels) in a significantly smaller battery than what could be stored in older batteries. On top of this, you’ll never need to service or replace these batteries.
(2) Increased Solar Panel Efficiency – Smaller solar panels are now able to use less light to create more energy. This means that more usable energy is created with smaller panels than with the older, larger solar panels.
(3) LED (light emitting diodes) – The vast majority of solar driveway lights now incorporate LEDs. LEDs have the distinct advantage of being able to transfer much more energy into light (as opposed to heat) than halogen, incandescent, florescehttp://www.outdoorlightsgalore.com/nt, and other light bulbs. This makes LED bulbs much more efficient. Additionally, LED light bulbs have the longest usable life of any form of bulb.
These 3 factors combine to create an extremely efficient and compact light housing, which is practical for a wide range of applications.
This means you have other options to illuminate your driveway than merely with standard solar garden lights, which are driven into the ground along the driveway’s edges. While you can still choose to work with this old-school landscape lighting design (if you happen to appreciate this design), the great things is that you now have additional options.
Here a just a few to consider:
(a) Solar Driveway Lights – Surface Mounted
After solar garden lights, surface mounted (above ground) solar driveway lights are the easiest driveway light to install. These solar powered lights are typically installed along the driveway’s edges.
Before permanently mounting the lights, you should carefully consider the exact location for each light. Once this is done, epoxy is a good choice to secure the light fixtures in place when mounted directly on pavement, paving stones or other hard surface.
One minor disadvantage to surface mounted solar driveway lights is that they can pose the potential for people tripping over them. While this isn’t always the case – depending on your driveway configuration and/or layout – the tripping hazard is most easily avoided when foot traffic is directed toward a sidewalk or other pathway, rather than the driveway itself.
Another point to consider is that although surface mounted driveway lights can be driven over by a car, you may want to avoid the practice. The lights do protrude from the ground; so to avoid any possibility of damage to either your car’s tires or the lights themselves, you may want to avoid running them over altogether.
One last word of caution – when installing your lights, do not space them too closely together. A driveway that resembles an airport landing strip is not aesthetically pleasing nor overly appreciated by neighbors!
Solar Driveway Lights – Flush Mounted
Flush mounted solar driveway lights are permanently implanted into a driveway’s surface. The end result is a bulb that is flush (or flat) with the surface of the driveway and looks extremely sharp.
Because of the flush mount, there is no concern of driving over them. These lights appear as though they are a natural part of the composition of the driveway itself and can be treated as such.
The only disadvantage (if there is one), is the degree of difficulty in installation. The fact that these lights either need to be installed into freshly poured concrete or drilled/dug/ground into existing concrete in order to get them flush (or recessed) effectively eliminates it as a do-it-yourself outdoor lighting project for the average homeowner. This mean you’ll have to bring in the services of a professional for proper installation, and renders this a more costly endeavor.
Another point to consider with flush mounted solar driveway lights is that light is diffused, rather than directed. Some people may not like this lighting effect. To explain this point further, flush mounted lights tend to emit a general glow – emanating from the source and surrounding it.
Whether this effect is what you are looking for is a matter of taste.
Surface mounted lights, unlike flush mounted lights, cast their glow onto the ground and also allow you to direct it toward the center of the driveway. If this the effect that you are looking for, then surface mounted lights may the choice you end up making – after taking into account all other considerations.
Other Uses For Solar Driveway Lights
Both flush mounted and surface mounted solar-powered driveway lights can be used for other applications besides the driveway. For example, they can make a splendid addition to your outdoor patio lighting. The diffused glow of flush mounted lights – when installed along the perimeter of a concrete patio – can serve as the ideal compliment to other electric and solar garden lights already implemented.
Just something to think about!