Is Solar Lighting Ready for Designers?

I’m asking: Is Solar Lighting Ready for Designers – to confidently use and specify?

As designers we’re tasked with looking to match the right products to the client and project in mind. As we all know, this pairing can often become a marriage of convenience as budget, site and timing are sometimes challenges that must be met.

So when time, money and installation constraints are tight, I have asked myself whether solar lighting could be the cost effective solution?

They offer efficiencies in install and capital outlay as they do not need integration into a lighting circuit and all that means with cabling and switching and as a primarily retail facing product, their price tag is attractive too.

So I took the challenge to try and achieve a pro quality outcome from solar for myself, and was pleasantly surprised with the results.

Solar Lighting Example in a Garden
The Orange Lighting Garden – lit entirely with solar lights

Whilst writing a series of articles on solar lighting for our partner website, I experimented with a number of solar lights in my own garden and have found some great little gems that do an incredible job.

I found that solar lighting has come a long way since I first evaluated the technology years ago. The LEDs are much brighter and the batteries last longer too.

What’s more, there are now many different types and styles of solar lights to choose from, which means that you can find something to suit most requirements.

Kuro Solar Light

It was great to see that Astro Lighting have embraced solar with their Kuro solar terrace light, designed for hospitality outdoor areas or any domestic garden that would benefit from evening accent lighting that is portable.

Available in 2 sizes, this contemporary lantern has three brightness settings and a hidden LED source within the canopy that reflects light downwards, glare free, for a beautiful wash of light over the walkways and patio. This not only provides the pockets of accent light that are so important, but creates useful waymarking around tables or to highlight changes in levels.

The synonomous Astro pared back style works with any design aesthetic and can be used both indoors and outdoors.

Exterior Use
For exterior use it has an IP44 rating and recharges in the sunlight.
Interior Use
Cleverley, for use indoors it has a USB charging source too, so it does not need sunlight exposure to charge up. This means it can be used even in the winter when solar charge times are too weak for any meaningful use at night or it’s a rechargeable light is needed inside where plugged in or hard wired lights are prohibitive.

Orange Lighting are an Astro Lighting Project Partner so do always think of us when specifying or buying anything from their ranges as we want to supply them to or for you, all with our value added experience etc.

So, what are the pros and cons of solar lighting? 



My Conclusion

Overall, I think solar lighting is a great option for designers to consider for when budget or installation constraints are an issue, but they are by no means a direct replacement for wired in switched lighting schemes. 

The results can be excellent, but there will be compromises. However, with the technology improving all the time, I think we will see solar lighting become increasingly popular in the coming years.

What do you think? Let me know if you need any help with exterior lighting.

Andrew Orange, the owner of Orange Lighting qualified and worked as an interior designer in 1993 before specialising in lighting working on high profile projects based in London. Since starting Orange Lighting Ltd in 2003 he has been sharing his knowledge and unique teaching style mostly to his designer clients, offering practical real life advice born from running a busy consultancy and lighting supply business. Launching in 2020, his blog has evolved into Quick & Easy Lighting, curating some 25 years design experience into making the lighting choice and design process achievable and easy to understand for all.