Solar Christmas Lights: Should You Make the Switch?

LED vs solar-powered Christmas house lights


Solar Christmas lights don’t cost anything to operate, but are they better than plug-in LED strings?

In the last few years, energy-efficient LED holiday lights have largely replaced more wattage-thirsty incandescent strings, resulting in significant savings — LED lights use 50% less energy than their incandescent predecessors, and they last up to 10 times longer as well.

Now there’s a newish kid in the string-light neighborhood: LED solar Christmas lights promise grid-free festive lighting.

Powering Up Solar Christmas Lights

A string of solar Christmas lights uses a small solar panel for power; there are no extension cords that must be plugged into outlets. The panel — about the size of a hockey puck — powers rechargeable batteries that illuminate a 25- to 100-bulb string of LED lights.

Panels come with small stakes so you can put them in the ground, where they can take advantage of the sun. A fully-charged string of lights should glow for six to eight hours after the sun goes down.

Solar Lights vs. LED Plug-In Costs

Pricing for solar-powered and plug-in LED holiday lights runs neck and neck. Compare purchase prices:

  • A 100-light string of miniature solar-powered LED lights costs about $10 and up.
  • A 100-light string of miniature plug-in LED lights costs about $10 and up.

Compare costs to operate:

  • Operating a string of plug-in LED holiday lights for 300 hours — more than enough time for an entire holiday season — costs about 24 cents, using an average energy cost of 12 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).
  • Solar-powered Christmas lights, of course, don’t cost anything to operate. That means you’re saving 24 cents per year in energy costs.

Advantages of Solar Lights

  • No extension cords
  • No need for exterior electrical outlets
  • Withstand cold temperatures and precipitation
  • Zero cost to operate
  • Light output comparable to plug-in lighting
  • Green option

Disadvantages of Solar Christmas Lights

  • May not operate under cloudy skies
  • Unproven longevity (too new on the market for results)

Article by Alyson McNutt English for HouseLogic | REALTOR

Green Up Your Home

events to help you green up your South Bay homeCalling on any LA South Bay Homeowner (or soon to be) that wants to GREEN UP YOUR HOME!

Here’s some upcoming events that will help you learn how and share great ideas for your own South Bay home:


    Saturday, May 12, 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
    The Environmental Priorities Network is sponsoring its seventh annual Solar Homes Tour in the Hermosa Beach, Torrance, and Redondo Beach. Attending this tour or any home included in it will open up a new world of technologies to help you to participate in a sustainable energy economy. Reducing energy use will help to save our planet from catastrophic climate change, and will save you money as well. The listed homes have many other environmental features like solar hot water heating, double pane windows, low voltage lighting, off-peak timed appliances, and native and drought-tolerant plantings. This is a great opportunity to find out more about conservation, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. Each home will be open to visitors for two hours or more starting with the first one from 8:30 to 10:30 AM. The last home can be visited from 3:30 to 5:30 PM. At one home you may view the control panel showing the meter running backwards, and at another you may inspect the electric car in the garage. You are requested to present the flyer to the host or hostess of each home that you visit. Tour Flyer.

    Saturday, May 12 10 – 11 a.m.
    Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden
    Maria Capaldo, Award-Winning Cactus Cultivator
    Patrick Moore, Local Succulent Enthusiast
    Ever noticed just about every article about landscaping in Southern California suggests using cacti and succulents? They’re perfect for our climate, especially for blending with native plants and grasses to create stunning, yet water wise displays. Patrick will lead a discussion on how to use these amazing plants in environments ranging from the windowsill to the front yard. A wide variety of samples will be available for sale. (All proceeds donated to MBBG.) Prior registration required. Contact Julie Gonella at (310) 546-1354 or Leave your name(s), class request(s), number of people attending and phone # when calling.

    Memorial Day Weekend
    Lecture – Saturday May 26, 3 – 6 p.m. $20
    Hands-On Workdays – Sunday May 27 1 – 6 pm $30 and Monday May 28 9 am – 6 pm $30
    $75 for 3-day Workshop
    Pacific Unitarian Church
    Permaculture is a land use and community building movement, which strives for the harmonious integration of human dwellings, microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soils, and water into stable, productive communities.The weekend workshop will cover land planning; how to build the design; irrigation; soil fertility management; composting and vermi-composting; mulching; permaculture lasagna; planting annual and perennial herbs, vegetables, fruit and nut trees; and orchard slopes. Led by Dr. Bill Roley, the director of the Permaculture Institute of Southern California, he is an applied ecologist, environmental instructor and consultant. He also designs strategies to improve sustainable resources for homes, organizations, governments and businesses. He heads the Ecological Restoration Certificate Program at Saddleback College and teaches biology at Soka University. Pre-registration required.

    Saturday, June 2 10 – 11 a.m.
    Manhattan Beach Garden
    Mike Garcia, Enviroscape
    Want to know how to get some free mulch? How about how to choose the right mulch for maximum benefit to your yard? Or maybe you’re wondering if there is any danger or risk to using mulch. This class will give you all the inside information, and provide you with a resource for free mulch. Prior registration required. Contact Julie Gonella at (310) 546-1354 or Leave your name(s), class request(s), number of people attending and phone # when calling.

What’s happening in the South Bay for Earth Day

Earth Day events in the Los Angeles South BayEarth Day this year is April 22, 2012. There’s plenty of activities going on in the South Bay for you to participate in, especially for the homeowners that would like to make their homes and lives a little more green.

Saturday, April 21, 8 am – 3 pm
Earth Day Bird Fest
Beach Clean Up 8 – 10 am
Location: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, CA 90731

Garden Tour Mar Vista, CA 4/21/2012Saturday, April 21, 10 am – 4 pm
4th Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase
Location: Mar Vista (tour map)
This free citywide event will feature a public, open house tour of 90 private resident gardens broken into 6 compact self-guided walking tours throughout Mar Vista. Participants will learn about drought-resistant landscapes, edible gardens, composting techniques, water capture practices and free range farming.

Saturday & Sunday, April 21 – 22, 9 am – 5 pm
Aquarium of the Pacfic’s Earth Day Celebration
Location: Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
Free with General Admission and for AOP members

Saturday, April 28, 11 am – 4 pm
VOICE Earth Day Celebration & Concert
Location: Polliwog Park, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266