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SEPCO's blog on all things renewable and green

Adding Atmosphere to the Outdoors with Solar Powered Landscape Lights 

Posted by SEPCO

8/17/15 10:00 AM

Solar Powered Landscape Lights DayA recent project completed using a SEPCO solar power assembly to power multiple small LED landscape light fixtures to provide enough power to illuminate a small area all night. These lights can be used for tree up lighting, lighting small landscape features like a pond or statue, lights along a pathway and so many other applications. Solar powered landscape lights can easily adapt to these types of applications.

Small landscape lights powered by a single larger solar power assembly allows for more versatility in these types of applications. Noticing in the photo, not all fixtures are located in the full sun, allowing for complete charge if using the big box style fixtures with the small solar panel on each individual fixture. Using a single larger solar power assembly allows for the fixtures to be placed in any location, even shaded locations, with the solar power assembly placed in the sun taking full advantage of the sun’s power.

Solar Powered Landscape Lights Night

Secondly, the fixtures do not all have to match. Using multiple style of fixtures for different applications, all powered the same, makes sure that your system operates exactly how you want it to and not have parts of your landscape go out before the rest. If you want all the fixtures to operate dusk to dawn, using a single solar power source sized for the number of fixtures you will be using will ensure that the fixtures operate exactly the way you want.

Pathways that need a little illumination, or that tree that you have been grooming to perfection, or so many other applications, all can be illuminated easily with low wattage landscape fixtures and enjoyed anytime at night. Even overhead rope lights can now be illuminated using solar power assemblies to add a bit of atmosphere to your outdoor space. Next time you look to illuminate your space, contact your solar lighting specialist to see how they can assist you by using a single solar power source to complete your project.

Blog Solar Lighting CTA

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Landscape Lighting

Solar Bollard Lighting for Parks and Pathways

Posted by SEPCO

7/29/14 9:30 AM

Bollards are used as along pathways and around parks to provide perimeter markings. They can range from concrete or steel posts to intricate decorative posts, all typically standing between 3’ and 5’ tall. Lighted bollards can provide additional features such as lighting the area at night to provide added visibility to pedestrians while marking the boundary of an area from a distance.

Solar powered bollard lights provide a green alternative and allow for lighted bollards to be placed in areas without disturbing the surrounding landscape. As the power is self-contained within a solar power system, these bollards can be placed just about anywhere. With separated solar power systems, the bollards can even be placed in shaded areas with the solar located nearby out in the sun. This allows for additional installation options than solar bollard lights that only have the solar panel installed on the top of the bollard.


There are a couple options to look for with solar bollard lighting. The first is with the light output. Reflectors are used to provide 360 degree lighting; however, shields allow for the light to be directed in a specific area. Second option is style of bollards as they come in either of those round or square shapes, a range of colors to fit in with current architectural requirements and the tops of the bollards can be customized with many different styles. Finally, is even pathway lighting required or just spot lighting for marking the area? If even lighting is required along a pathway, there will be a need to place the bollards closer together; however, most bollards can be placed about 15’ apart and provide a decent amount of light on the ground.

No matter what option you choose, utilizing solar bollard lighting can provide the needed lighting with no impact on the environment or the landscaping nearby. Solar provides a renewable source of energy to power the bollards and allows the area to be lit for safety of people in the area.
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Topics: Solar Lighting, Landscape Lighting, Pathway Lighting

Eagle Scout Honors Veterans Lighting Freedom Rock at Night with Solar

Posted by SEPCO

5/22/14 9:30 AM


Recently SEPCO took part in supplying Eagle Scout David S. with solar lighting for a project he did for his local Eagle Scout troop in Greenfield Iowa. Out on Hwy 25 stands an old graffiti rock that artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen began to paint yearly since 1999 on Memorial Day each year.  Sorensen paints the rock with his own money along with donations and sales of Freedom Rock merchandise.  The purpose of this rock is to pay respect and thank U.S. veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice to our country.  Over the years word of the rock spread and it has become a popular site for tourist and most notably veterans to visit each year. Looking through previous years images of the rock it is amazing that one person is responsible for such a beautiful sight.


Last year David contacted SEPCO with his idea to relight the rock using solar lighting versus the single mercury vapor light that was failing. The old light did not do the rock much justice and was dim and needed to be replaced. The rock is visited both day and night primarily by motorcyclist traveling the road. Lighting at night of the rock is very important so the failing light needed replaced.  After meeting with the local co-op that manages the fixture David was given the go ahead to start his project, the co-op even volunteering to install the new equipment once it arrives.


David’s project was recently finished and shortly after the install storms rolled in putting the lighting to the test from the first day. The light is working great and has been a great new addition to the Freedom Rock, SEPCO is proud to be a part of this project.   This has brought more attention to solar lighting in the area prompting others to inquire about what we can do for them.  We are glad we can help light the earth one solar light at a time. 


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Topics: Solar Lighting, LED Lighting, Landscape Lighting

Make your Landscape Green with Solar Power

Posted by SEPCO

7/25/13 9:30 AM

Solar YardI came across this great article last week Greening Your Landscape with Solar Power and wanted to share it with you as it was full of great information. It provided information on all types of solar equipment you can use for your landscaping needs.

Solar Lawn Care Equipment

A gas powered lawnmower emits the same amount of pollutants as 11 late model cars in just one hour. That is a lot of pollutants. And on top of that, it is estimated that American homeowners spill a total of 17 million gallons of fuel when filling the yard equipment according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Talk about a lot of waste.

Solar-powered electric lawn equipment can change the way a homeowner cuts grass, trim hedges and blow leaves. They can save on gas and are completely emissions free. These tools are completely cordless and are also much quieter than standard gas powered equipment. They also provide less breakdowns since there are less moving parts. “The electric equipment is five times less noisy than gas-powered trimmers and blowers, breaks down less and requires less maintenance,” says Bob Blundon of Connecticut, who founded the eco-friendly landscape company Mother Earth Care. Blundon has also noticed the solar-powered design makes the yard equipment lighter and easier to maneuver.

Solar Lights

Once your lawn and landscaping is manicured to perfection, solar lights can help showcase all your hard work. From pathways, decks and tiered lamp posts, you can create and inviting glow and utilize the space after dark without increasing your electric bill. Plus there is no need to trench all that beautiful landscaping.

Today, solar lights use LEDs which have a much longer life span (up to 100,000 hours) than former incandescent light bulbs and provide a much better light. “If you used solar lights a few years ago, you probably remember them as providing very little light, being unreliable and on top of that, not staying lit very long,” says home improvement expert Murray Anderson. “Solar lights have changed a lot over the years.”

Solar Fountains

Do you have a pond or other water structure in your yard? If so, utilizing solar power to run the pumps and fountains is a great option. Water structures create a warm, serene atmosphere and tranquil environment. The systems include a battery backup so you can choose when your water fountain will operate, even on cloudy days or when you are entertaining guests. “A fountain with the solar panel built-in is useful for those water features with a spray. Pumps with a separate solar panel are best for waterfalls, man-made creeks and other water features of this type,” advises the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Department.

Solar Gardening Innovations

Vineyard owners and farmers with small or mid-sized fields can benefit from a solar-powered gardening robot, controlled by a smartphone. Created in France, the Vitirover uses GPS coordinates to determine exactly where to cut grass and weeds, with sensors to keep the blades away from vines and crops. It can even roll up and down hills with a 15 percent grade or below.

For those tired of back-breaking gardening or tending crops, the Wunda Weeder allows users to lie face down on a four-wheeled frame to weed flowers or harvest vegetables. Designed by Australians, the self-propelled electric machine is powered by a solar panel that offers shade from the sun or rain.

What other ways can you think of using solar power in your landscape?

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Green Ideas, LED Lighting, Landscape Lighting

Illuminate Your Yard with Landscape Lighting

Posted by SEPCO

5/7/13 9:30 AM

landscape lighting LEDDuring the day, your flower beds, blooming bushes, and bird baths, all gorgeous parts of your yard, are showcased by the sun. However, come evening, a little electrical assistance may be necessary to give your yard the attention it deserves. Enter landscape lighting.

Landscape lighting involves well-placed lighting fixtures that illuminate both key design elements in your yard and walkways that allow visitors to both make their way to and from your front door and enjoy the visual beauty of your green space.

When it comes to installing landscape lighting, what are your options?

The availability of LEDs, low-voltage lighting, and even solar-powered units has changed the outdoor lighting game tremendously over the past 15 years. When seeking out bulbs for your landscape design, your best bet is to look online and at specialist companies, rather than home improvement stores, which carry some but not all of your many options.

Most outdoor lighting requires a connection to an electricity supply to stay operational. Low-voltage transformers are the safest option for your garden, as mixing water and electrical currents by using a wall socket is highly dangerous.

Ready to choose your outdoor lighting? The following are the most common options for a spectacular visual experience right in your own backyard.


These energy efficient wonders work perfectly as pool lighting, twinkle lights, recessed lighting, or even spots. Their output is bright and can be softened using diffusers. While purchasing the lights initially will be more of an investment than buying traditional lighting, LEDs are a cost-effective option when energy efficiency and longevity are considered. Maintaining LEDs is simple, as the bulbs last longer than standard light bulbs or compact fluorescent bulbs.

Electric lighting:

Fluorescent bulbs provide excellent landscape lighting when used as lamps and post lights. Halogen flood lights offer spot-on lighting for security and colored effects. While the bulbs themselves are not expensive, running costs are, so opt for low-energy bulbs and fluorescent strips or halogen lights when possible. Replace bulbs as they burn out and be sure to maintain clean wall lamps and infrared sensors. Call your trusted electrician for the safest initial installation.

Fiber Optic Lighting:

Best used for a dreamy starlight effect in paving, decking, and water features, fiber optics may require installation assistance. Low maintenance, these gorgeous bulbs are emit low heat and UV output and can be washed with gentle cleansers.

Solar Lighting:

Solar-powered lighting suits any area on your property, but works particularly well at the edge of pathways and patios, in ponds as floating or rock lights, on walls, and near plants. It can also be used for spotlighting. While the downside of solar powered lighting is a low reach, it can provide gentle lighting for pathways that is preferable to brighter types. Initial cost is expensive but the convenience and non-existent running costs, coupled with its longevity, make this lighting type an excellent choice. With easy DIY installation, these lights need only a sunny place to operate. Solar lighting’s photovoltaic cells require regular cleaning, but batteries last years.

Lighting your yard should be an inspired activity that allows key features to shine, even after hours. Consider the above types and remember to consult your local electrician for installation advice or to troubleshoot issues.

Author: Chelsea Terris provides “illuminating” online content for Prairie Electric, an electrical contracting company based in Portland, OR.
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Topics: Guest Post, Landscape Lighting

Solar Bollard Lights: Forgotten Commercial Solar Lights

Posted by SEPCO

10/11/12 9:30 AM

SolarBollardLightBollard lights are popular in pathway and walkway applications. These too can be powered by solar panels. Large panel assemblies can power multiple fixtures with the solar power assemblies being fit into the surrounding landscaping, or there are solar bollard fixtures that have the solar panels fit into the top of the bollard. There are two major differences between these two applications; larger solar means higher powered lighting and smaller, built in solar panels provide lower power lighting.

High powered bollards are great if security and areas where a larger amount of lighting is required. These larger powered bollard fixtures can be installed anywhere on a walkway with the solar power nearby to showcase a green initiative, or be remotely mounted and blended within the landscape. The bollard fixtures themselves come in a variety of styles and colors to match the architectural surroundings.

Bollard Light Solar Powered

Lower powered bollard lights with the solar panels built into the top of the fixture are used primarily for accent lighting. These fixtures provide enough light to mark the walkway area so pedestrian traffic knows where the walkway exists. These fixtures also come in a variety of styles and colors to match the architectural surroundings and do not have to worry about blending the solar power system within the area.

So next time you are looking for an architectural way to light up your pathway, look into solar bollard lighting. Its a perfect way to be beautifully sustainable.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Landscape Lighting, Pathway Lighting

Solar Lights for Your Community

Posted by SEPCO

11/8/11 9:30 AM

With the many communities being developed all around there are steps the individuals living within the community can get together to have implemented, either at the beginning stages or years after the development is completed. Talking to the contractors and community board to show them the savings both environmentally and financially will have a great impact on many decisions. Here are a few things that can be changed over to renewable energy to lower cost and reduce the overall environmental impact.

Solar Roadway Light

Solar Roadway Lights

Most developments have lights on the streets. These light provide security to the residences while also improving the overall look of the area by being architecturally friendly. There are solar options that eliminate the electric costs while keeping with the security and architectural integrity. These lights can provide the same lighting levels as the standard electrical lights, and if on a coastal area, can be turtle friendly as well. The same types of lights can be used for golf cart pathways and sidewalks around the community.

Solar Parking Lot Lighting

Solar Parking Lot Lights

Most communities have a pool, clubhouse, golf club, and other gathering structures where parking lots exist. These parking lots need adequate light for security of the residences and vehicles. Solar parking lot lights provide the same lighting levels without the additional trenching of installing traditional electric. The lights also can still meet the architectural integrity needs of the community.


Solar Sign Light

Solar Sign Lights

The entrance and directional signs around the community can also be lit up by solar power. Solar sign lights provide illumination to any size sign from monument signs to smaller signs around the community. Even banner signs can be illuminated by solar. One of the largest benefits of these types of lights is the lack of trenching needed to bring in standard electric as these signs are typically in median and remote locations. Just drop the pole in the ground and mount the solar and fixture, no additional digging required.

Solar Landscape Lighting

Solar Landscape Lights

Communities like to showcase their landscapes around the development by adding lighting. These lights can also be powered by solar, and since multiple fixtures can be powered by a single solar power system there is no need for a single solar power system for each light.

There are also landscape lights available for the individual homeowner. These lights do not provide the same lighting levels as commercial solar lighting systems; however, provide atmospheric lighting and can outline walkways, driveways, and other landscape areas. Residential style solar lights can be found at any hardware, big box store, or online. These lights typically only provide a few hours of illumination and do not provide a backup for times of inclement weather or winter months, but are perfect where the illumination is not required to meet specific lighting requirements.


So next time there is talk about lighting in a community, remember solar lights can provide the same lighting needs while reducing the impact on the Earth and the wallet. For large scale projects like the ones motioned above, make sure to seek a reputable manufacturing company. Different types of solar panels, batteries, control electronics, and fixtures will make or break the solar lighting project. By making sure the lighting levels required by the project are met and the companies providing the lights have high quality parts will save you time and frustration in the long run by lowering the maintenance and increasing the life of the systems purchased.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Street Lighting, Security Lighting, Parking Lot Lighting, Landscape Lighting

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