How Does Solar Stable Lighting Work?
Done right, solar lighting is an ideal solution to providing light in stables in a remote location with no mains electricity.
There are many benefits to solar lighting over the alternatives:
- Much cheaper than a new connection to mains electricity
- Usually cheaper than a generator
- Completely silent operation
- Minimal running costs*
- Hassle free - no refuelling and virtually no maintenance
- Configured like a "normal" lighting system in your house with switches and lights where you would expect them
- Number of light fittings and brightness of light only limited by budget
- Safe and easy to use
So how does it work?
It's really very simple, a solar panel or panels charges a battery (usually a 12V leisure/electric fencing battery or similar deep cycle battery) during the day. The battery stores the power generated and the lights draw on this power when they are switched on by the user. The lights are used exactly like a normal lighting system like the on in your home - turn lights on and off at wall switches.
The simple wiring diagram below illustrates a very simple single light system. Obviously most systems will be larger systems than this with numerous lights possibly of various different types but the basic approach is the same. Every kit we supply for DIY installation comes with full instructions and a simple diagram like the one below but tailored specifically to your kit.
Reliability is key!
The tricky bit is to ensure that the power taken out of the battery by the user is replaced by the solar panel so that the battery doesn't come discharged too quickly causing the lights not to work. When supplying bespoke systems we take considerable time and care to ensure that we understand how you want to use the lights. If we under specifiy the kit you will be disappointed with performance but if we over specify the cost is bumped up. Our experience helps us to get this right and we always work closely with customers to match their lighting requirements and budget.
As well as balancing solar power in with lighting power out, we carefully size the battery to provide a buffer of power to ensure day to day reliability even during prolongued periods of poor winter weather fo example. Even if you have a week of foggy, or dark wet days in mid winter, a Willgen solar lighting kit will keep working every night for the expected period of time.
At Willgen we use quality components that we have tried and tested and will work reliably when you need them to.
Beware false claims!
Many solar stable lights and solar stable lighting kits fall woefully short of their claimed performance in our dark winter months here in the UK when every horse owner I know needs most light in their stables. Beware products that quote long summer run times as their headline lighting time (it's a common ploy). How often do you need the lights on in the middle of summer? What really matters is how long the lights will work for every single day in mid winter. Even if you find other firms quoting winter lighting times be careful as I often find that many other selling solar lights are very optimistic about their system's likely performance or simply do not know or understand how much light they will provide in mid winter.
Willgen solar stable lighting kits are specifically designed for reliable winter use, 7 days per week in the UK. We always clearly state mid winter lighting times as that is when our customers will need most electric light and when we have least amount of sunshine. Willgen solar lighting kits are designed to have enough spare capacity to allow for extended periods of poor winter weather and/or occassional periods of extended use of the lights (in an emeregency for example).
* with solar there are no fuel bills, although batteries will deteriorate over time and will need replacing periodically*) Battery life depends on numerous factors but typically, when sized correctly and used in one of our solar lighting systems, a standard leisure battery will last for approximately 3+ years, a better quality Absorbed Glass Matt deep cycle battery will last for approximately 5+ years and a top quality gel battery might last for approximately 8+ years.