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Emily and I are very happy with our solar power array. However, we’re always looking for ways to cut back on our consumption so that solar power provides a bigger percentage of our electricity.

We found one power-sucker that we decided to eliminate. Ever since we bought the house, there was a backyard light that automatically burned from sundown to sunrise. We figured that was a plenty of unnecessary consumption, especially when there was no switch to turn it off.

Second, it didn’t have a motion sensor. So its security value was OK, but not that good, either.  And the constant burning at night made it a party for insects.

So we took down the backyard light and installed a solar security light (above), made by Smart Solar and sold by Gaiam. The light comes from two sets of LEDs. It’s activated for 30 seconds by a motion sensor.

The small solar panel (above) that comes with the light charges the batteries during the daytime.

There’s a lot to like about this security light. The lights can be set at many angles, and the fixture can be mounted on even a corner. It’s bright enough to see about 30 feet in front of you. The batteries need only about five hours of sunlight a day to remain charged.

The setup contains all the hardware you need. The only tools I used were a drill, a Phillips screwdriver, a marking tool and a hammer — all for the installation. It took me less than an hour to set the whole thing up. And Smart Solar provides easy-to-follow illustrations for installation instead of written directions.


It’s been another 31 days with the 1.5 kilowatt solar system on our roof. It has generated 183.7 kilowatt hours since that time, with is just under 6 KWH per day.

That’s a decrease from 7.2 KWH average in the previous month. The drop is caused by the shorter days, plus the Tulsa area had several days of torrential rain in which there was very, very little sunshine.

Apologies for the lack of updates on this blog. I promise we’ll have a bit more coming up soon, including a product that’s a good little power-saver.