Outdoor Lighting System

We are currently installing an outdoor deck and would like to use some low voltage lighting. It appears feasible to use 12VDC LED lighting and a charge controller and battery to drive the entire system off grid.

After searching the internet, it does not appear that such a system is available as a turn key so I am wondering if anyone here is aware of someone offering such a system. Secondarily, if no such system exists, are there resources that can advise on the design and deployment of a system?




  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
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  • RCinFLA
    RCinFLA Solar Expert Posts: 1,484 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Outdoor Lighting System

    From the reviews it looks like these do not like to be point up where they can catch water.

    I also don't like idea of dealing with all the independent NiCad batteries which will likely have to be replaced every 1-2 years. Might be able to rip NiCad's out and feed from a single battery or AC adaptor.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,439 admin
    Re: Outdoor Lighting System

    If you are grid connected (utility power)--then it will cost you ~10x the cost of grid power (per $/kWhr) to run your lights from an off-grid solar system.

    You are heading down the correct road by first trying to pick fixtures that are energy efficient (LED and/or CFL).

    To put the lighting on solar power--you need to know how much power you are going to supply, for low long, and how much power by season (say 6 hours per night in the summer, vs 1 hour per night on a motion detector in the winter). And lastly, where the solar system will be installed (nearest major city).

    Also, will you have/need some sort of backup power (need to recharge/power the lighting after a run of cloudy weather).

    Depending on your power needs, you can build a very nice solar power system for less than $500--to a lot more.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Outdoor Lighting System

    While the Canadian Tire lights look interesting, having distributed batteries (1 per light) will be a pain. We have found a company that makes interesting 12VDC lights: De-kor. Still need to validate that the current required is suitable for Lead Acid battery storage.


    Thanks, we are doing the off-grid connection just to do it, I do not expect to save money. I would actually love to be installing a Schueco complete HVAC/Hot Water/PV system, even though its expensive for retrofit (and not available for purchase in US) just because its darn cool!

    Thanks for the advice, the next step is to find out if De-kor wants to play.

    - Jeff
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,439 admin
    Re: Outdoor Lighting System

    Many times, the "12 volt" devices do not really like to work on the voltages that are used in a Solar/RE/Deep Cycle Battery systems...

    You really need a 12 volt device that will run from ~10.5 to 15.5+ VDC -- some devices won't run with long voltage drops (below 11.5 VDC or so), and others will not run above the 14.2 volts or so that the typical car electrical system operates at without damage.

    Sometimes, it is better to get a nice and efficient 120 VAC 60 Hz TSW (True Sine Wave) inverter and run the devices from 120 VAC.

    Morningstar SureSine, 300 Watt Sine Wave Inverter 115VAC

    The inverter is designed for the wide battery bank voltage, and if anything chokes--You have the one inverter to protect the devices from the batteries (and vice versa). Also, you can send the same amount of current 10x further (on the same gauge wires) vs a 12 volt system.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset