Solar lights provide light all year round!

It is a common misconception that solar lights do not work on cloudy days. Though solar panels gather more energy on a clear, sunny day, they require only daylight to function. Lyco’s high quality solar products are designed to work efficiently throughout a UK winter.

History of Solar Lights

Solar lights seem a modern idea, but they first appeared around fifty years ago. Photovoltaic or solar energy itself was first glimpsed in the 19th century, but it wasn’t until the discovery of the silicon solar cell in the 1950s that solar energy could finally be used to power small electrical devices.

By the 1970s solar energy was being used in offshore navigation lights (e.g. oil rigs), lighthouses, and railway lighting. Since then progress has seen us move towards the perfect partnership of sunlight and LED …

Solar lighting and LED

LED has a host of qualities that make it suitable for solar use:

  • Longevity – Extreme longevity means you can fit a solar LED light into any hard-to-reach position without worrying about a replacement.
  • Environment-proof – LED lighting is unaffected by any low UK temperature. It will provide instant-on light even in sub-zero temperatures, reaching full brightness immediately.
  • Hardy – As a solid state form of lighting, all LED lights are naturally shock-proof and vibration-proof, making them suitable for robust outdoor use.
  • Disposable – Zero mercury content makes LEDs eco-friendly and easily disposable at the end of their useful life.
  • Compact – LEDs are remarkably compact, which means a wide range of solar-powered products are available, including LED rope lights and fairy lights.
  • Direct Current – As LED technology uses DC power it synchronises easily with the DC power produced by solar panels.

Improvements in LED solar lights

In recent years, LED has become increasingly viable as a solar-powered light source. Lumen-per-watt performance has roughly doubled for every three years of LED development. Already LEDs are being used in car headlamps, aircraft anti-collision lights, and in solar or non-solar street lights.

A good solar light will have a high-quality circuitry, a bright LED with high lumen-per-watt efficacy, and a decent rechargeable battery. NiMH batteries offer longer discharge time and higher capacity than Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) batteries. Li-Ion batteries have minimal ‘memory effect’, so they can be partially discharged and recharged repeatedly.


Lyco sell a diverse range of carefully selected solar lights including:

Security Lights

The Aston Solar PIR Light
The modern-looking Astron Solar PIR LED Floodlight automatically triggers light when it detects movement. It uses 64 LEDs to produce the equivalent output of a powerful 150W halogen lamp, which is easily bright enough to deter potential intruders. The Astron uses a Li-Ion battery and can be activated up to 100 times per night for 1-minute durations.

Wall Lights

The Canterbury Solar Wall Light is a stylish fitting from The Solar Centre with a built-in ‘dusk to dawn’ photocell for automatic lighting overnight. An override switch lets you switch it on and off as required. With its pair of 600mAh NiMH batteries, the Canterbury is able to keep its super-bright white SMD LED going for up to 10 hours from a full charge.

Line Lights

For decorative effect, the Bling String Solar Fairy Lights can be wrapped around trees, parasols, gazebos, or trellises, and installed within minutes. These energy-efficient LED lights can stay lit for up to 12 hours using their included rechargeable batteries. They have a ‘dusk to dawn’ photocell that automatically turns the lights on and off overnight.
Durham solar post light

Post Lights

Part of the Silverlight range, the Durham Solar LED Post Light is ideal for lighting driveway or path entrances or highlighting garden features. Its pair of NiMH batteries enables 10 hours of light once fully charged. A dusk to dawn sensor is integrated, which automatically switches the light on during darkness and off again as it gets light.  This can be overridden by a manual on/off switch.


The Helios Solar LED Spotlight is constructed with a die-cast aluminium body, and delivers a superbly reliable performance. A crisp light is emitted from four super-bright white LEDs, powered by two AA 1000mAh NiMH batteries. These lights have an 8m range, and can last for up to 10 hours. A dusk-to-dawn sensor switches on the Helios overnight, or you can use a manual on/off button. This is one of the best solar spotlights on the market!

Solar potential

To illustrate solar energy potential, the earth receives more energy from the sun in one hour than the entire world uses in a year.

Feel free to take a look at our full range of solar lights.

Need more information, advice or a few more ideas? Try our Lighting Advice section.


Andrew Evangelidis Head of Buying

Andrew is an experienced buying professional who takes an entrepreneurial approach to identify new lighting solutions and ensure Lyco have first-to-market ranges for our customers. Having previously worked for well known brands such as Wickes, Carphone Warehouse and Toys R Us, Andrew has now turned his hand to sourcing commercial lighting and ensure our customers receive top brand quality products at marketing leading prices. He manages a team of commercial and decorative buyers who travel the world finding new products that our customers don’t even know they need yet.