What could be better - free, environmentally friendly, and unlikely to run out any time soon. David Hall finds whether solar energy is really that good.
Saving you money and, some people would say, saving the planet. It certainly can be in the garden and here are six of the best uses for solar lights, both decorative and practical:-
Love or hate it, decorating the outside of your house and garden with Christmas lights is increasingly seen as a fun activity that brightens up the whole street.
The FDL Solar Powered Outdoor Christmas Light Set boasts 100 LEDs that are switched on automatically at sunset by an integral light sensor. Remaining on until the batteries are exhausted, a solar panel re-charges them during the following day.
Premier multi-action lights, also complete with a charging panel, can decorate plants and other garden items. With 100 or 200 lights they can speckle anything they cover with glistening 'snowflakes'.
A great advantage of solar lights is that they can be located in places that are inaccessible for mains cables. This can regularly be the case along paths.
At Christmas, and other times of the year if you enjoy very pretty white, blue or multi-colour stars lining the path, choose Premier LED Star Pathway Lights. These come in four bunches of five stars complete with charging panel.
Konstsmide are one of the world's leading lighting companies and make several styles of pathway lights that contain long lasting, bright, LEDs to really illuminate your way home very effectively.
Lanterns hang from shepherds' crooks, cylindrical lights that resemble filter cigarettes, and others topped by blue mushroom shapes or upturned thimbles. There's quite a wide choice and all will bear the hallmarks of Konstsmide quality.
Spot lights can illuminate dark corners adjacent to your house and also enhance the appearance of outdoor areas. Intense LEDs are located behind clear acrylic to provide bright illumination of specific areas.
Ancona lights are mounted on columns while Prato Wall Lights are designed to be fixed to a wall and also have a motion sensor that's useful for security.
Konstsmide manufacture Assisi lights that are staked into the ground and feature delicate fluttering butterflies, iridescent dragonflies or dainty coloured mushrooms.
Contemporary designs include white and terracotta table decorations, that are perfect for patio dining sets and warm summer evenings.
Very attractive features with flowing water make impressive cascades. There's also humorous rustic concoctions, water wells and bird baths.
Smart have a Solar Sunjet with three different heads capable of spraying water a metre into the air while the Bermuda Solar Feature Pump is ideal for powering your water feature, both have an output of 250lph. Bermuda fountain pumps have a battery back up that will work for 3 hours, and LEDs to provide extra impact in the evening.
On the 1 to 10 cute water feature scale, three lily pads floating on the surface of your pond have a rating of 11. Once the sun sets, the pond comes alive with these illuminated flowers in red, green and blue. There's also a Lily Floating Fountain, just drop it on the water and when the sun shines it comes to life.
The Lunaqua Solar ensures your pond will be superbly lit with 15 bright white LEDs, under or above the water. Smart Solar Underwater Spotlights can be used to a depth of 2.5 metres and can also light up the garden. There are optional colour inserts and each set has three lights with a battery capacity of 20hrs.
Solar power has so much going for it that it is bound to take on increasing importance over the next few years. It's really is a case of unpacking the product, assembling it and sitting back to enjoy not having any electricity bills.