Trying to see at night can be difficult, even if you eat tons of carrots. Having street lights can help you navigate your front porch and entrance at night and provide extra lighting to the entire outside of your home. However, normal street lights use high amounts of electricity, which in turn drives up energy bills. Using solar power during the day to power your nighttime street light can both save money and help the environment.
The solar panels attached to solar street lights charge a battery, which powers the light. The majority of solar street lights turn on and off automatically thanks to motion sensors that detect either sunshine or a lack of it. They are designed to work all night and require little maintenance compared to a typical street light. To top it off, no cables are exposed, so there is reduced risk of any accidents or malfunctioning due to adverse weather conditions.
Our top pick due to its incredible tech coupled with an unbeatable price. A popular model that is renowned for its sturdy aluminum alloy and highly waterproof build. Featuring high-tech optical lens and ultra-bright LED beads that can illuminate huge surfaces over long periods of time.
Our budget pick is still a very capable and astoundingly high-tech model with features that include a built-in photoelectric sensor, automatic dusk to dawn ignition and a smart chip that adjusts the power output as the battery capacity decreases.
An extremely bright 400W light that takes the cake as our premium pick. This model by Niorsun boasts a highly elevated conversion rate, lengthy working time (15 hours of light on a full charge) and a durable build that make for both powerful and versatile model that can light up a whole street.
How Do Solar Street Lights Work?
To reiterate the point we made in the introduction, street-lighting is important. Arguably, it’s much more important than porch lighting or the lights you install in your garden, since keeping streets well-lit is also the best way to keep them safe. As such, we’d understand if you were sceptical as to the effectiveness of solar-powered street lighting. Not many people are aware of just how solar power works, for a start, let alone whether it can be trusted to carry out such a sensitive job.
Thankfully, we’re here to tell you that solar power can be trusted. Solar and other renewable power technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and is now not only more affordable than ever, but more reliable than ever, too. There exist few better examples of this than solar street lights.
Solar street lights consist of a frame of many high-lumen LEDs, contained within a weatherproof housing. To the backside of the streetlight is attached a solar panel (of varying types and strengths, depending on the model), which is wired directly into a battery contained inside the main unit. The solar panel itself will be comprised of either polycrystalline or monocrystalline photovoltaic cells. These cells contain a chemical which, when exposed to sunlight, reacts to produce volts of electricity. The volts, produced during sunlight hours, are transferred into the battery where they are stored until night falls, and the electricity can be used to power the lights.
This simple, efficient system is regulated in most solar street lights by sensors which detect the loss of light, and automatically trigger the ON switch of the lights. In other words, these units are built to automatically switch on (and use their stored electricity) come dusk, and to switch off (and begin generating electricity again) come dawn. Many solar street lights also come with a remote control, so that you can override this automatic mechanism should you choose to, or set up manual timers to control its operation.
You might be surprised to learn that a single solar panel can generate enough power to keep the street lamp working all throughout the night, but they really can! The best solar street lamps will be powered by monocrystalline panels, which can generate electricity even in low light conditions, and will automatically reduce the brightness of their lights in small increments as power reserved deplete, to ensure that – no matter what – they keep the streets well-lit all night long.
Pros and Cons of Solar Street Lights
We’re here to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision; as such, we want to lay out not only the pros, but the cons of solar street lighting, too.
- No electricity bills. Whilst the environmentally-friendly aspect of solar power is inarguably more important than its cost, we know that for most of us the budget-friendly aspect is what really gets us excited. Since solar street lights require no power from the grid to function, you’ll never pay another cent toward street lighting on your energy bills!
- Saving the environment. The planet’s in a rough way, right now, and we all know that whatever we can do to help mend it, we should do. Solar street lighting is a total win-win for both the consumer and the planet, since it performs a super important function in society, without draining the planet of its finite energy resources.
- No power outages. As we’ve said before, street lighting equals street safety; and with solar street lighting, you can be sure that the streets will be kept safe and well-lit even in the event of a blackout or loss of grid power!
- Urban planning. Most solar street lights are affixed to brackets which can be attached directly to walls or any other vertical surface. What this means for urban planners is the freeing up of so much space! No more gaudy, obtrusive, space-hogging lampposts taking up the pavement or sidewalk; just reliable, out-of-the-way lighting.
- Reliance on light. As with all solar power, it goes without saying that in order to function properly, solar street lights require reliable and regular exposure to sunlight. Whilst some monocrystalline solar cells do continue generating electricity in low light, most (if not all) solar street lights will still require several hours every day of fairly direct sunlight in order to achieve their maximum potential.
- Expensive purchase. Whilst solar energy products tend to save you money in the long run, they can often require an expensive initial investment. This is true for solar street lights, which may cost between $100-$150 each. However, we still think that the long term savings to your energy bills far outweigh the burden of this initial cost.
The Best Solar Street Lights Reviewed
- Brand: YQL
- Color: White
- Material: Aluminum + toughened glass
- Energy saving and high brightness
- IP67 waterproof grade
One of the greatest aspects about this solar street light is the wide range of wattage choice between models that spaces between 100W to 1000W. This is ideal for people who have different needs in terms of lighting. There are two lighting modes present on this model: Bright white and warm white, that can be used adjusted for full brightness.
The high-tech mono crystalline silicon solar panel with a built-in photoelectric sensor means you’re getting very high quality in terms of solar energy retention and the adjustable height is ideal for illuminating large areas. Once charged, it stays lit throughout the entire night without having to rely on manual ignition as it automatically turns on when it gets dark outside.
- Easy installation and versatile adjustment
- Powerful illumination and energy conversion
- Dusk to dawn automatic ignition
- Brand: PSG
- Color: Black
- Material: Aluminum
- Remote Control
- IP65 waterproof
A strong contender for our best premium pick. PSG gives us an incredibly powerful and versatile solar street light that can be used a front door light, pool illumination or even a basketball court light for a late night summer game. Unlike traditional bulbs, this solar street light provides heightened illumination due to high-quality LED bulbs while its 6.4V/48000mAh large capacity battery can save up to 80% electricity while being used.
It’s handy remote means you can easily configure or simply activate the light from afar. There are multiple lighting modes including: Full bright mode, induction mode, and timer. After stocking up on sun during the day, this model can stay on for almost 24 hours. With an easy DIY installation, you’ll have your new street light up and running in no time.
- Very powerful illumination and high capacity battery
- Superior quality LED lighting
- Multiple lighting modes
- Easy to install and durable
- Also on the expensive side
- May not fully charge in overcast weather
- Brand: Niorsun
- Material: Aluminum, Glass
- Solar Street Light
- Light Senor & Motion Sensor Modes
- Remote Control
- IP67 Waterproof
Our premium pick is an extremely potent solar light that can provide up to 430-645 square feet of clear lighting. Whether it has to illuminate a parking lot, tennis court or entire front yard, this solar flood light is perfect for large areas. 3 lighting modes are offered by this solar street light including: Dusk to dawn, motion sensing, and timer mode.
Made of extremely high-quality mono crystalline cells with a 21.5-23.5% conversion rate coupled with an insanely powerful 400W output, this is a heavy duty solar light that will do its job.
It is also made from durable materials boasting an IP45 water-resistant rating meaning you can leave it up during inclement weather. This also includes hot weather which ironically is somewhat of a weakness for many models of solar panel powered lights. Finally the Niorsun 400W boasts 15 hours of continuous lighting after a full charge and comes with a generous 24-month warranty.
- Extremely powerful illumination and very high output
- Very high conversion rate
- Made of very durable and water resistant materials
- Intuitive to use and easily adjustable and versatile
- Slightly lower lighting time than other models in the same price range
- Brand: Engrepo
- Color: Black
- Continuous lighting throughout the night
- Intelligent control chip
- Remote control
- High-quality LED lamps
- Weather resistance
Our top budget pick, the Engrepo Outdoor Solar Street Light is a great device at a killer price. Key features include a built-in photoelectric sensor, automatic dusk to dawn ignition and a smart chip that adjusts the power output as the battery capacity decreases. This allows for a much longer lighting time. You can also take charge of your lighting remotely, which allows you to turn it on and off from a distance of up to 30ft. It’s 84 high-quality LED lights offers around 150 square feet of illumination while the battery life allows for up to 15 hours of continuous lighting which is a very good time-frame considering the price. It is also very easy to set up, adjust and use as a porch, garden, pathway or pool light.
- Quality build and specs despite its low price
- Very high-tech automated features
- 84 LED lights providing decent illumination
- Highly versatile
- Low wattage
- Brand: Joylight
- Color: Black
- New Version Solar Light
- Aluminum alloy housing
- IP67 waterproof
Our top overall pick due to its popularity to price ratio. Boasting a more than capable output of 200W the price for this model is extremely reasonable when taking into account its performance. The LED beads integrated into the panel give off more brightness than any model with comparable parameters due to its high-tech optical lens which make the lighting more efficient. The Joylight’s floodlights cover a massive area, making sure your streets are well-lit with minimal light pollution.
Made from highly water (IP67 waterproof rating, one of the highest around) and debris-resistant aluminum alloys. The whole model comes with an included long-life lithium iron phosphate battery, dusk to dawn off light sensor and anti-breakage remote control. Every single part and component of this model goes through rigorous testing and is specifically designed to stand the test of time
Easiness of installation and versatility are also key features. The full kit comes with an adjustable pole metal bracket meaning it can be installed in ceilings on walls on the ground in any location at any angle. To top it off a lengthy 3 year warranty is an included.
- Extremely powerful high-tech bulbs
- Very durable, highly water-resistant build
- Each component is rigorously tested
- Full kit included providing versatility and easy installation
- 3 year warranty
- Great price considering the tech
- Length of ignition time on a full charge may shorten after extended use
- Brand: Ruokid
- Color: Black
- Light sensor
- Remote control
- Shock and vibration resistant
An awesome product by Ruokid. This street light’s luminosity is so elevated it has a nickname: “The Small Sun”. This model offers a much higher brightness than similar sized models (The whole kit weighs only 3 pounds) being able to clearly light up an area of around 90 square feet.
Featuring a debris and water resistant (IP67) aluminum alloy build, it’s lithium iron phosphate battery had both a long lifespan and a very low attenuation. The lights themselves are made of highly luminous, none-flickering lamp beads with each component undergoing thorough testing.
This is a highly cost-effective considering its durable build and charging capabilities. 4-6 hours of charging guarantee around 8 hours of continuous ultra-bright light through the night with automatic dusk to dawn ignition. The whole package includes a metal mounting pole and accompanying brackets for easy and versatile installation. Ruokid’s customer service is also exceptional, available for any queries before, during or after attachment of the lights. A 5 year warranty is also included for additional peace of mind.
- Extremely high brightness
- Resistant aluminum alloy build
- Easy installation and attentive customer service
- 5 year warranty
- No motion detection
- Brand: UPONUN
- Color: White
- Material: Tempered Glass, Metal
- Dual-Color switchable
- Sensitive & Stable Motion Sensor
- Smart Remote Control
Our last item reviewed is a powerful solar street light in the mid-price range (80$). It’s main feature is the switchable light colors that can be changed from warm white to cool white with the included remote. The cool white is usually used for standard lighting of front doors, patios, parking lots, pathways etc. While the warm white is perfect as a relaxing ambiance light.
Brightness levels can reach a staggering 1300LM when fully charged. The innovative PCB controller technology guarantees over 10 hours at 100% unfaltering brightness levels and a whopping 20 hours at a 50% brightness level. This model can last up to 6 days in motion sensor dim mode.
This solar street light has 3 useful lighting modes: Light Sensor, Motion Sensor and No Light sensor, each with their own utilities and advantages. The build is an IP65 waterproof metal casing that boasts optimal performance in all climates and types of adverse weather.
To top it off the whole kit comes with remote control, mounting brackets and screws and a user manual. The warranty is lifetime featuring a money-back policy and as with other brands mentioned, UPONUN’s customer service is prompt and reliable.
- Switchable light colors
- Very high brightness
- Very long lighting times (some of the longest advertised on the market)
- 3 lighting modes
- Sturdy build and composition
- Lifetime warranty
- Remote control not as resistant
- May not offer the length of lighting advertised, especially in cloudy weather
Solar Street Light Buyers Guide
Here are a few things to look out for while shopping for the perfect solar street light
When shopping for the right model, you’ll want to look out for conversion speed. The speed will depend on the nickel wire that comes with the light. The nickel wire carries electricity to and from the solar panel, so if you have more nickel wire, it’ll be quicker. You also want to have a thinner nickel wire so that the sunlight can get to the semiconductor efficiently.
If you want your solar light to generate more electricity, you need an adequate temperature coefficient. The impact of the temperature coefficient means more power. Solar panels are tested at 25 degrees Celsius, and this is usually used as a fixed reference point. You’re going to want to go for a light with a lower percentage per degree Celsius. This may cost more, but it will be worthwhile in the long run.
PID (potential induced degradation) a very important figure to look out for. We have seen that an IP rating signifies resistance to water, the PID figure is a more general figure that pertains to any kind of damage from anything from high temperatures to debris. You’re going to want to go for a solar panel and light with a high resistance to PID. These products are the ones that will be more durable and last longer.
Type of Glass
The glass that is part of the solar panel is what protects everything that’s inside. If you purchase a solar streetlight with low-quality glass, it may affect the efficiency by clouding over time. It’ll also be easier for the glass to break, two obvious negatives. The best glass to go for is tempered glass, as its the most durable.
A single solar panel (of the ones reviewed on this list) is capable of generating between 250-300 watts of power. If you have a high voltage panel, you will naturally get more efficient light. It’ll also be more effective at providing energy to your light as well. The only issue is they are larger, bulkier and can be more expensive and difficult to install manually and individually. However, this may be worth paying to get a good quality product.
When comparing different solar lights, you’ll want to look at what battery they have. A lithium battery is the best option. They are reliable and have much longer lifespans than lead batteries. With strong temperature resistance, they’ll also be with you for a long while. This will, in turn, save you money in the long run.
Taking all these factors into account we reiterate our top overall choice to be the Joylight 200W Outdoor Lamp. A perfect combination of reliability, durability, power and affordability. We are not alone in this verdict as this model is one of the most popular on the market. This also translates to more efficient customer service, substitution of any malfunctioning components and overall positive quality to price ratio.
Check out our updated Pinterest board with the best solar street lights:
Yes! These lights are good for many different uses. It doesn’t have just to be used for streets. If you have a garden, front porch or even a basketball court that needs to be lit up, then these will be perfect.
The average price for a decent solar light would be around $100 to 150$. This is an indicative price though, as heavy-duty models may cost much more while budget options may cost as low as 30$.
Most modern models of solar street lights are completely automatic. This means that they only turn on around dusk. However, a few come with remote controls that allow you to pick and choose when they are on.
Absolutely. Most modern models incorporate some degree of motion sensor tech, so coupling one together with a camera or alarm system means they would make a great addition to your home security.