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.

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