Outdoor Lighting Applications
The first place that solar power lights were introduced was for certain outdoor applications like pathway and garden lighting. In these systems the solar panel, battery and lighting assembly were all mounted in a single enclosure. You could simply place the solar power light where you needed it and it would provide the lighting all evening. It did this by charging its internal battery with the sunlight that struck its solar panel during the day and charged the internal battery for use in the evening. These early versions worked reasonably well and have improved dramatically over the years.
Battery Efficiency Improvements
The biggest change to these outdoor solar power lights are their batteries and the bulbs used for the illumination they provide. The batteries have been improved to charge more quickly and hold their charge for a longer period of time. This allows them to supply the power needed for the lights for more than an entire evening. By having the ability to run the solar power light for several days on a full charge you eliminate the lack of lighting for your pathway following a cloudy day. Older systems needed a sunny day to charge their batteries and then used all the power they provided in a single evening. If there was a cloudy or rainy day, there might not be any light that evening because the batteries were not able to charge enough during the day.
Interior Lighting Explained
The bulbs are also greatly improved and draw less current from the batteries while providing a brighter and warmer light than older models. Over time this style of solar power light started to be used as interior lighting. The challenge with interior lighting was that it needed to be brighter than the exterior lights to be able to light a room. The way that most of the modern interior solar lights handle this is by using a series of light tubes to direct the sunlight into the room for illumination. These light tubes are able to bend the sunlight and provide it deep into the home as natural light. In most cases these hybrid solar power lights also contain a traditional electrical light that can compensate for lower light levels outdoors. As the sun starts to set the electrical light provides more of the illumination in the room so that there is a constant light level in the home. This way you can use the free lighting provided by the sun directly during the day and switch to the electrical lights in the evening. Some of these systems even include a set of solar panels that are used to charge a battery bank that can be used to power the electrical lights. This type of system allows you to fully utilize the sun for your solar power lighting system.