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A solar light kit generally consists of 3 primary parts. These are the solar panel, the light/lights and the battery pack. Basically how a solar light kit works is the solar panel charges the battery pack during the day using the available sunlight and the battery pack provides the power required to run the lights. The size of the solar panel and battery pack will vary depending on the level of light intensity required and the length of time the battery is required to last. Obviously the brighter the lights are the more power they draw, which drains the battery at a faster rate. Increasing the size of the solar panel will speed up the rate of charge, requiring less hours of sunlight to charge the battery pack. Increasing the capacity of the battery pack allows it to run the lights for an extended period of time without needing to be charged.
Solar lighting kits are most commonly used for camping. With the popularity of ‘free camping’ (where there is no supplied power) going through the roof, solar light kits are becoming very valuable. They provide light for people without their own power source and free up valuable battery power for campers who take their own battery with them. The perfect example of a useful solar light kit is the Primus solar light kit. The Primus kit takes it one step further than just providing light and allows other things to be run off of the battery pack. It comes with a solar panel which can fully charge the battery in 8 hours of sunlight, 4 LED lights each with their own individual switch and 7m of cable between it and the battery, and a 5Ah battery pack with a charging point for mobile phone connectors. Primus also provide a packet of phone connections to most standard mobile phones which allow campers without a battery source to charge their phones and other little electronic devices. They also provide a cigarette plug accessory socket which can be swapped in for one of the lights. This means other lights and devices can be run off this battery pack also. Make sure you check the power draw of the things you wish to run in addition to the lights, as obviously the higher draw will drain the battery at a faster rate.
I have just explained why solar light kits are very useful when camping, but the usefulness of a solar light kit does not end there. When you get back from your camping trip, rather than just store the solar lighting kit away, it is easy to find a use for the lights around the home. They can be used in a shed or gazebo to save digging a trench and running power from your home. The lights also make for very good deck lighting and are commonly used in horse stables. Basically the value of a solar light kit can be limitless and if you think about it I’m sure everyone could find a good use for one.