Here comes the sun, so let's put it to work
April 3, 2009 8:45 AM Subscribe
Small, inexpensive solar projects for the yard? Got one done and I'm curious about what else I can do...
posted by azpenguin to home & garden (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'd been wanting a small water feature in my yard for a while. With the layout of our place, though, power is a problem. Last week I got the idea to try solar, since if there's one thing we have plenty of here, it's sunshine. I took an unused solar light, a cheapo tabletop battery operated fountain, and some pots and put a little yard fountain together. And it actually works, which is a small miracle. We love it and now I'm wondering what else I could do out back. (A pic - http://sketchpenguin.com/photos/garden/finished.jpg - the solar light in back powers it. The light itself no longer runs, which is no biggie because you can't really see it at night anyway. During the day it just looks like an idle solar light. It's not running in this pic since the sun is almost down.)
I have 3 more unused solar lights. We got them on clearance for $2 each, so they're not a huge expense. In optimum sun, it generates 3.2 volts. The current reading was hard to figure out as the meter wasn't cooperating, but it looks to be 100 milliamps. For the fountain, it's built to run on two AA batteries, and the pump needs all 3 volts. Any shade and it shuts off. I had to remove the batteries from the solar light since there's not enough juice to charge them and run the pump. (The pump runs about seven hours a day, which will increase as summer comes along.) Given this info, any ideas for fun outdoor projects that can run on this kind of power? And can I get more juice if I wire the solar panels together? Thanks!