Solar Christmas lights: types and applications
21 december 2015 

Solar Christmas lights: types and applications

The end of the year is nearing and – probably just like you – we at Sinovoltaics are dreaming of a white Christmas… you know, just like the ones we used to know where the treetops glisten – nowadays thanks to solar Christmas lighting solutions.

While we are still waiting to hear sleighbells in the snow instead of honking cars outside of the office, we can however already rejoice in Santa Factories’ various nice solar items specifically designed and produced for the most commercialized time of the year.

We will introduce here some beautiful Christmas-specific solar items available on the market and explore their advantages and disadvantages.

Solar Candle Light

Solar candle light (courtesy: New Light Solar)

A large variety of solar Christmas lights

Several companies, particularly those with manufacturing bases in China, have in recent years specialized in the design and production of original and useful solar PV-integrated electronic items, including those specifically geared to Christmas.

Not requiring any electrical socket, they overwhelmingly serve the purpose of providing flexible, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly (Christmas) lighting.

There are plenty of different types and modules when it comes to solar Christmas lights. Apart from the common chains of lights, other main types include stake lights, figure-shape lights and lamps.

Chains of lights

Chains of lights, also called: fairy lights, are the most common type of solar Christmas lights. Typical applications are the festive decoration of (fir) trees and stair rails or even the complete Christmassy coverage of houses.

The two main types of chains of lights are:

  • string lights, which basically consist of an electrical cable that can be many meters long and comes with several small light bulbs integrated in sequential order
  • net or mesh lights, which are large mesh networks of electrical cables with integrated small light bulbs

Christmas solar string light

Solar string light in Christmas design (courtesy: Yueqing Shengchuang)

Solar Christmas chains of lights basically consist of thin cables in either string form or mesh form and come with energy-saving colored or standard white light emitting diodes (LEDs).

The LEDs can be of different forms and shapes, such as stars, deers, angels, snowmen, and more… possible designs are only limited by imagination capacity.

Operating independently from the grid, small devices with integrated solar PV modules and a built-in, usually Nickel-based battery, are the core power source of a solar chain of light.

Removable stakes and clamps to fix the device onto the ground or a roof is usually part of the whole set and allow for a variety of positions and locations to install the lights.

While the string lights are very practical for classical cone-shape Christmas tree decoration, the net lights are more commonly used outdoors to decorate bushes, doors, or walls.

Stake lights and figure-shape lights

These are figure-shaped solar Christmas lights that come in the form of all kinds of imaginable figures, such as deers, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, snow flowers, snowmen, angels, or even in form of hanging mistletoes/ cherries – which is a nice item, especially for those who ever wanted to have a romantic kiss under a solar PV module.

The figure-shape lights can both be hung up or mounted on a stake and then placed at a suitable location in the garden.

Since they are solar-powered, they can basically be put anywhere and provide nice Christmassy lighting as long as the modules get sufficient sunlight to charge the batteries.


Another subtype of solar-powered devices suitable for Christmas is decorative lamps. There are many different forms and solutions available, particularly attractive for Christmas purposes are:

  • solar candle lights
  • solar night lamps

Solar candle lights are devices in form of small or large candle-shaped bulbs that are mounted on an enclosure with an integrated solar cell and a battery and basically look like a candle and can provide romantic, Christmassy light for many hours.

Solar night lamps come in different theme designs and shapes and can thus be used for a wide range of applications even beyond Christmas. A particularly beautiful type of solar night lamp consists of either a porcelain or glass bowl in different colors and design patterns, including picturesque winter landscapes.

On top of the bowl is a removable solar cap with an integrated solar cell, a built-in battery, and an LED that can light up in either standard white or rotating multicolor light modes.

Christmas solar night lamp

Christmas solar night lamp

Advantages and disadvantages of solar Christmas lights

Many solar Christmas lights are conceptually based on classic Christmas decoration items that require external power supply to provide for a nice, festive illumination. But, instead of being dependent on a nearby electrical socket, integration with solar photovoltaics makes them not only more environmental-friendly but also more flexible in terms of location and application.

There are many advantages that have been making solar-powered Christmas lights becoming more and more popular all around the globe.

Only a few hours of sunlight during daytime in cold winters are usually sufficient to charge the battery and provide enough power for Christmassy illumination throughout the night as the energy-saving LEDs do not consume a lot of power.

Moreover, most manufacturers equip these devices with photosensitive light sensors that turn the lights automatically at dusk or when ambient light conditions are weak.


  • solar Christmas lights are flexible electronic items that do not require electrical sockets/ outlets outdoors. They can be used for decoration indoors and outdoors and anywhere off-grid: in the midst of dark forests, at the graveyards of beloved deceased, and even at the North Pole, so Santa can finally sell his Diesel generator
  • basically, all types of solar Christmas lights produced worldwide use LEDs which feature comparably high luminosity with low energy consumption – ideal for hardcore house decorators that are worried about high electricity bills in January…
  • the large and original variety of solar-powered Christmas light items
  • energy-saving: many devices come with integrated light sensors that light up the LEDs at weak ambient light conditions


  • sensitive to incorrect installation: the solar module must be placed in a way that they directly face sunlight
  • the solar module requires cleaning when covered by snow, leafs, dirt, etc.


The advantages of solar christmas lights clearly outweigh the disadvantages. Do you fancy a nice solar Christmas light for decoration but already submitted this year’s wishlist to Santa Claus?

Don’t worry, it’s not too late! Sinovoltaics has cut a nice deal with Santa Claus’ cousin Santavoltaics: as a 2015 thank you to our readers and followers, all buyers of our Ultimate Guide to Buying Solar Panels ordering latest by 31 December 2015 will receive a stylish solar night lamp in Christmas design for free!

About the author
Niclas is Chief Technology Officer at Sinovoltaics Group.Sinovoltaics Group assists PV developers, EPCs, utilities, financiers and insurance companies worldwide with the execution of ZERO RISK SOLAR projects - implemented by our multinational team of solar PV-specialized quality engineers and auditors on-site in Asia.Niclas has been living and working in Asia for over 10 years, including Mainland China, Taiwan, India and Iran. He is solar PV quality specialist with extensive experience with manufacturers in Asia and has before worked on clean energy projects at UNIDO and Grameen Shakti. Connect with Niclas on LinkedIn
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