Solar Rope Lights: an Overview

Solar rope lighting is useful and decorative. You may just string some along a pathway, or the edge of your swimming pool. And that would be sufficient, until you think of other uses for it. Maybe you’ll go a little overboard and cover your entire house with it during the holidays. Really, you could do whatever your heart desires, but before you do, there’s some things about solar rope lighting that you should know.

First of all, what are solar rope lights, anyway?

Solar rope lighting is a woven strand of Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs). It is then encased in clear plastic, to protect the LEDs. This also enables you to wrap the lights around a pole, or lay them in straight lines. A small solar collector is attached to the LEDs. During the day, the solar collector charges a small, rechargeable battery that powers the LEDs. It’s important during the day that your solar collector get enough light, or else you’ll get no light or dim light at night. A light sensor determines when light is low enough to turn your lights on. Solar rope lights comes in white, or a single color, or, festively, many colors. You can get a woven strand of LEDs, or a strand with individual lights (like holiday lights).

Solar Powered Rope Lights

CC flickr photo courtesy of Robert Hruzek

The uses don’t end with your backyard either — you could take a strand camping, use it on your boat, or as a nightlight for your child (if you’re using it indoors, the solar collector has to be placed in a sunny window).

Solar-powered rope lights are largely water-resistant and reasonably durable. They can be left outside, but be careful not to run the over with your lawnmower or car. You need no electrical know-how to install them, as they are self-contained — just place them where you’d like them. If you have multiple strands, you can plug one into the end of another.

By using solar power, you also reduce your carbon footprint, as well as your electric bills.

Where to Buy Solar Rope Lights

Amazon.com Has a wide variety of solar lights, including programmable multicolor lights. Enough to comparison shop.

Sears Sells solar LED strands or rope LEDs in a variety of colors.

Clean-energies.org A small retailer offering a variety of solar lighting options, including solar strands of individual LEDs (like Christmas lights), in white or colored lights such as green, red, blue at lengths of 50 or 102 lights.

Smarthome.com Sells Flipo Solar LED rope lights. 39 feet for $37.

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