Do Solar Fairy Lights really work in the UK?
Let's be honest the UK doesn't have the greatest of weather, so do Solar Fairy Lights really work in the UK? The short answer is yes, however there are some realistic caveats which must be taken in to consideration.
Cost is a major consideration. If you have ever purchased the 'cheaper' types solar lights before, for your garden, from garages, ebay, amazon etc then you may well believe that solar power products only work in summer, specifically on sunny days, that they don't give off much light and don't last a very long time, you may well have the opinion that they are more of a gimmicky fun summer product.
It's not really the fault of the consumer, as in most cases people are simply not aware, that you can buy solar power fairy lights that are built to last more than one season, and that will work even in the depths of British winter time, for not that much more. In fact our research has shown that when you weigh the cost of replacing these units over time, then buying cheaper lights actually works out to be more expensive!
The reason is clear most retailers in general, are really not concerned with whether the product is good quality, they don't analyse the electronic components and try to improve them, quite the opposite they will look at ways to make the product cheaper, so the margin is larger and the profit is greater, they will work the statistics, calculate an 'acceptable' return rate, and sell in large numbers.
This profit focus gives the consumer the impression that solar lights do not work in UK winter, and we have found from our feedback that many people really believe this to be true, our customers are genuinely surprised that the Powerbee range actually work even in December in the UK!
When we exhibited at the IdealHomeShow we had an uphill struggle to persuade some customers that solar lights really could work in winter time.
So when purchasing solar lights it is very important to read the description, if a product does not state that it is a good quality unit that works in UK winter, or does mention the specifications of the unit including solar panel power / battery capacity / function etc, then you can assume that your garden will be dark during these months, this is a great shame and a missed opportunity in our opinion, as winter lights can really cheer the soul.
Our research has shown that it is fairly easy to produce solar fairy lights that operate during summer, that's assuming that you have a clear open south facing garden, without any shade. In these circumstances you can pretty much choose any set of cheap solar fairy lights and they will work to some degree.
There are some additional considerations to take in to account, for example a lot of people do not have south facing gardens, or they want to locate the fairy lights on the north side of their homes, some customers have buildings blocking part of the sky or fences / trees in the way. These more difficult or 'challenged' types of installation all have an effect on how well / long the lights will work.
It is in circumstances like this that the 'economical' lights will really struggle, and when in September the sunlight starts to significantly diminish, these types of lights don't stand a chance of lasting more than just an hour or two, in December the batteries in these units will most likely already be drained and dead, as the solar panel will not be able to generate enough voltage to give the battery any charge at all.
However if you purchase for example a set of Powerbee Endurance 100 white lights, these will last on average around 8 hours a night in September, so even if you challenge the units in a poor location you will still achieve several hours of light, which will turn your neighbours green with envy.
They will work all through the winter time and can be doubled up as solar Christmas lights. On those dark gloomy 'night' like days we sometimes have, when even the best of the best solar lights struggle, they also come with a USB charging port and cable, and have a detachable / replaceable string, so you can unplug the string, which means you can leave the string in its place, charge the control unit via a USB port, and enjoy the lights all night long, in a certain sense they double as battery lights on these days.
Expectations should be realistic, there is in life with all things always a certain balance, a unit for example like the 240 solar fairy lights, which lights nearly all night long any day of the year, is more expensive, so we sell fewer of these units than our Endurance 100 range, both have our patent pending technology inside, however the 240's have a much larger solar panel, battery capacity and string. So although the 100's are almost certainly the best solar lights in their price range in all of Europe, they will not operate all night long every single night of the year, to gain close to this level of performance will require a minimum spend of £40 on a set from Powerbee like the 240's.
The 100's however will give you several good hours of light nearly every night of the year, in summer this will be all night long nearly every night, and on those very overcast cloudy winter days we all know in the UK, you can boost them easily and simply with the USB charging facility.