The holiday season is here. With that comes decorating the tree and your home with lights. The yearly tradition can be a costly one. The small lights on strings might not seem like a major drain on resources and our wallets. Annually, electricity consumption in the United States for Christmas lights is 6.6 billion kilowatts, enough to power 14 million refrigerators and more electricity than El Salvador uses all year.
With solar power becoming more prevalent and affordable, there are now options to keep your light display, save on your energy bills, and help the environment. Solar lights are a great option for an energy-conscious holiday season.
Solar Christmas lights are just like regular Christmas lights, except they are powered by the sun. Unlike electrical lights that require long, messy extension cords, solar-powered lights are powered by attaching them to a small solar panel at the end of the string of lights. The panel is charged by the sun during the day and is placed on a stake that can be inserted into the ground in a sunny location near your home. A sensor will turn on the lights at night and use the power charged inside the panel. Solar string lights usually have LED bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs. Solar-powered lights can stay on for up to 8 hours. On days were there is less sun, they will not stay on as long.
LED bulbs are often brighter, cooler to the touch, and use much less electricity over time than incandescent bulbs. Solar lights have a higher upfront cost than incandescent lights. These are a high-quality investment that will save money over time and will make up for the increased upfront cost. The prices for solar Christmas lights are around 30 to 50% higher, ranging from about $13 to $32.
According to the US Department of Energy, LED lights use 80% less energy than incandescent lights and can last up to 25 times longer. A strand of LED bulbs uses 2.4 watts of electricity and costs as little as 21 cents over the same time as 100 incandescent lights that cost about $3.53 for a holiday season, roughly one month. If you use the same strand of LED lights for 30 days at 21 cents per day, over ten years, the cost would equal around $63. For using incandescent bulbs for the same amount of time at $3.53 would cost about $1,000 and use more than 1 kilowatt of power per an 8-hour night.
While of cost using LED lights is significantly less than regular lights, solar holiday lights eliminate those extra electricity bill charges.
This holiday season save money and the environment by going solar!