Pond lighting is hardly a new idea but a method that requires no external electricity supply or wiring deserves a closer look. A typical solar pond light consists of several components, LEDs for illumination, solar panels to gather energy from the sun, a battery to store energy and a photo sensor to control the on off cycle of the LEDs. The principle behind solar pond lighting is really very simple. The solar panel gathers the suns energy which is then used to recharge the battery. When the sun sets the photo sensor is triggered by the lack of ambient light and the LEDs come on. The increasing ambient light in the morning causes the LEDs to switch off and the battery starts to recharge again.
All of these components are contained within a single plastic housing. The solar pond lights can be placed exactly where they are needed. There are many different variations on the solar pond lighting theme but most of the lights have a couple of things in common. The lights themselves are not extremely powerful and are designed to provide ambient, atmospheric light rather than to be a primary source of illumination. The casing tends to be transparent plastic and is obviously waterproof. These lights are generally designed to be placed on top of the water and not to provide underwater illumination. Underwater solar pond lights are, however, available but they tend to have a much larger and more obvious solar panel than the above water type. This is due to the fact that light attenuates rapidly when passing through water.
There are a variety of designs of the above water type of solar light. The basic design is a transparent globe with a white or coloured LED light but there are also translucent brightly colored globes available for a more modern and less utilitarian look. Other solar lights are themed with water lilies being the most popular example. These lights do not have to be used in water and can just as easily be used to provide illumination from a dry surface such as a wall or a picnic table. Other pond decorations are now available with the solar power option including water fountains and ornaments such as lighthouses. The days of having to run mains electricity to the garden pond, with all the extra expense, work and safety issues, are now fortunately in the past.