How does solar lighting work?

Solar lighting works by gathering energy from the sun, through solar panels mounted to the top of a light pole. Solar panels are made up of many solar cells joined together that absorb this solar energy, which can be transformed into stored energy with the use of rechargeable batteries. This stored energy is what solar lights use to power the luminaires during the night.

The smart controller within solar lighting systems can identify when solar energy is no longer being generated, as at dusk, and automatically turn on the light. Following the same pattern, when the controller identifies solar energy is being generated again, as at dawn, the light will turn off and the batteries will begin to store energy (charge) again.

Will solar lighting work all year round, in all climate and weather conditions?

The standard operating profile for all Green Frog Systems (GFS) solar lights are designed for reliability, with the aim of ensuring lights stay on throughout the night – from dusk to dawn.

Also, given a fully charged battery, there will be enough power for the light to stay on for a minimum of 3 nights on our smallest solar system.

How long will solar lights stay on through the night?

Yes and no. While solar lighting technology has become much more advanced, there are still conditions where solar lighting may not work as expected on a standard operating profile. The good news is that most GFS solar lights are equipped with a customisable dimming port. By changing the dimming settings, you can reduce the amount of power your light draws throughout the night. This is helpful during months where there is less sunlight, such as the winter months, or in regions with lower photovoltaic (solar) levels.

By understanding the levels photovoltaic output in your region, you can determine whether you will need to consider a customised operating profile for your solar lights. The Global Solar Atlas highlights regions where solar output is highest and lowest.

If you are unsure about how solar lighting will perform in your location, our solar lighting experts are able to help! [CONTACT US]

Where can I use solar lights?

You can use solar lights anywhere! Solar lights can be used for many different applications, thanks to being standalone systems – meaning you can install them anytime, any place without having to worry about access to grid energy, difficult trenching or cabling.

Some examples of solar lighting applications:

Anywhere traditional grid-connected lighting is impractical or expensive to install

Are solar lights cost effective?

There are many reasons solar lights are a cost-effective lighting solution. Here are a few:

  1. Solar power is a renewable energy source, there are no ongoing energy bills.
  2. They are much less expensive to install compared to traditional grid lighting, with no need for expensive trenching costs or cabling.
  3. Easier to install, not requiring an electrician.
  4. Less overall maintenance, using highly reliable LED lighting and lithium ion batteries.
  5. Less maintenance hours, especially with our solar lighting systems that are smart cities enabled, allowing you to remotely monitor and control your solar lighting assets.

How do I know my solar lights will be bright enough?

The brightness of any light is determined by the number of lumens emitted by that light.

The lumen (denoted lm) is a measure of the amount of light visible to the human eye from a light source. In simple terms lumens equals brightness; the higher the number of lumens, the brighter the light will be, the lower the number of lumens, the duller the light will be.

Many people confuse lumens and watts, believing that watts are a measure of light output, or brightness, which is incorrect – Watts (W) is the measure of energy used. The higher the watt value, the more power the light draws. Inefficient light sources of the past such as halogen lights provided light/brightness by using a lot more power than the highly efficient LED’s we have today. By utilising LED fixtures, we can provide lights of the same brightness but using less power.

When considering the brightness of a light source, remember to look for the lumen (lm) value. When considering the efficiency of a light source, look for the Watt (W) value.

Do I need an electrician to install Green Frog Systems' solar lights?

No, you do not need an electrician to install our solar lights. Our solar lighting systems are essentially plug and play, however if you would prefer an electrician install your solar lights they can easily do so.

How do I maintain my solar lights?

Solar lights have very few maintenance requirements beyond inspecting the solar panel for dust or fouling build up to ensure the panel is working at its peak efficiency.

As all GFS solar lights use LED fixtures, you won’t need to look at replacing the fixture for more than 11 years (operating for 12 hours a day), and there is no need for regular service of the lithium-ion batteries.

My solar lights are not lasting through the night, what can I do?

If your solar lights are not lasting through the night, there are a few things you can check.

  • Is the light positioned in an area outside of direct sunlight, such as under a tree or in a shadowy area? You may need to move the solar light to a position with more direct sunlight.
  • Have you experienced multiple days of poor sunlight? It is possible your battery cannot get a full charge, as soon as sun yields improve the light should return to usual operation. If this is happening frequently, you may need to consider dimming the lighting profile. Many GFS solar lights now come equipped with a dimming port which allows you to reduce the amount of power used throughout the night to ensure all night operation.
  • It is possible the battery within your solar light needs to be replaced as it has reached its expected lifespan, this is after approximately 5 years.

What is the expected life span of a Green Frog Systems solar light?

The expected lifespan of GFS solar light components are as follows:

  • Solar Panel: Up to 25 years
  • LED Fixture: > 50,000 hours of operation
  • Battery: Approx. 5 years
  • Electronics: Approx. 5 years

You can also view detailed GFS warranty details pertaining to individual product listings here

When do the batteries in my solar lights need replacing?

The batteries in GFS solar lights have an expected life span of approximately 5 years, if you have had your solar lighting system for this amount of time and your solar light is no longer holding enough charge it is likely time to replace the batteries. Green Frog Systems can provide replacement batteries.

How do I dispose of the batteries in my solar lights?

It is important that all types of batteries are recycled in the appropriate manner. As a member of the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative (ABRI), Green Frog Systems’ battery recycling scheme gives you the option to drop off or send your used batteries to us or any other ABRI member for recycling. You can find out more about the battery recycling scheme offered on the Green Frog Systems product range here

Can I retrofit solar lights to an existing pole?

There are a few questions you need to consider before retrofitting solar lights to an existing pole. If you are interested in retrofitting an existing pole you can find out more in our blog post ‘Can you retrofit solar lighting to an existing pole’