Solar Cynergy featured on Ecotality.com!

Virtually Free Landscape Lighting*

Solar Cynergy of Corona, California, is marketing what may be the ultimate in eco-friendly lighting these days – solar-powered LED lighting – lights that store solar energy during the day and use it to power long-lasting LED lights at night. I call them virtually free because they don’t cost anything to operate once you’ve paid the upfront cost of the lamps. More on the cost in a minute.

LEDs consume far less power than incandescent bulbs, and last longer. Because they require so little power, combining them with a small solar cell and a capacitor allows the light to be completely off the grid.

Solar Cynergy’s first product is an outdoor landscape accent light for the residential market. The light is a “brick” that is installed in the ground. It is covered by a polycarbon shield that is strong enough to withstand being driven over by a truck. The light comes on automatically at night, and the company says that a single day of weak sunlight is enough to power the LED for several days, according to the company. The LED lights are considered capable of lasting for as long as 25 years.

Solar Cynergy’s initial market target is the high-end residential market – a pack of six round lights costs about $799 wholesale, though as manufacturing costs for LEDs and solar paneling continue to come down – they’re dropping 10 percent annually, the price likely will come down.$799 sounds like a steep up-front price for six landscape lights, but considering that the LEDs last 25 years and the solar power is free, I’d be interested to see how the math works. That $799 cost comes out to about $32 per year. Does it cost that much per year to use grid power to run six regular electric landscape lights? If the costs are similar now, grid power is likely to rise in price over the next 25 years, while the solar LEDs essentially lock in your power costs for as long as they continue to function – and the replacements 25 years from now probably will cost less, not more, in inflation-adjusted dollars.

There also are three non-price factors favoring the solar LEDs: there are no wires to bury, they’re better for the environment, and there’s a “cool” factor to them that regular lights plugged into the grid can’t match.

Solar Cynergy has also begun making similar lights designed for cities, including one meant for lighting city-street crosswalks.

A recent news story about Solar Cynergy has the CEO of the Solar Cynergy’s Japanese parent company claiming that Solar Cynergy is run by just six employees and has annual revenue of about $7 million. Solar Cynergy isn’t the only company in this space – Hotbeam of Australia sells a nearly identical product called the “Solar Brick.”

[Update: Michael has a video review of this solar brick over at GroovyGreen]

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