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More eco-friendly solar string lights in the pipeline

Targeting the high end, makers are adopting energy-efficient PV panels and bulbs in their models.

China suppliers of solar string lights are planning to move upmarket in coming months amid strong overseas demand.


Solar string lights
The SL-004 model from Fonta uses four LEDs and an NiMH battery.

In line with the shift, more designs will be integrating monocrystalline silicon solar panels. Such PV modules have a conversion rate of 17 or 18 percent, which are at least 1 percentage point higher than specifications for polycrystalline types.

A number of companies also hope to roll out designs with thin-film panels, which perform better in low-light conditions. Suppliers aim to reduce silicon consumption amid rising rates for the material.

At present, only a few large enterprises have begun investing in the manufacture of these variants because the technology is relatively new. More makers are expected to follow suit, however, as silicon costs remain on the upswing in response to strong market demand.

As regards light source, LEDs will continue to dominate because of the environmental trend. Currently, those adopted in solar string lights are rated below 1W. In the months ahead, suppliers will be improving the performance of the components. Luminous flux, in particular, will be enhanced by about 5 percent.

Boosting efficiency further, makers will be bundling designs with more advanced control systems. At present, models that operate according to the brightness of the surroundings account for the majority of output. Units that function during a specified time frame are also popular.

For new products, a growing number of suppliers intend to adopt DMX controllers. Besides enabling users to turn the lights on and off automatically, these systems allow the setting of lighting effects such as color changes and flashing illumination.

Models featuring enhanced functions are anticipated to boost the uptake of solar string lights, especially overseas. Exports are projected to increase between 10 and 50 percent in coming months.


Products & prices
Product gallery

Solar string lights price guide
Products & prices

String lights constitute less than one-fifth of China's lighting output. Of this turnout, no more than 40 percent utilizes PV energy.

Prices of solar string lights start at $5. Quotes vary depending mainly on the type of light source and panel adopted since these components account for about 80 percent of total outlay.

For bulbs, LED types are the primary option, although some low-end units employ fluorescent variants. The chips used in the former are procured from local makers or overseas-based counterparts such as Osram and Cree.

As regards PV panels, most solar string lights adopt versions that have a working voltage of 2 to 5V. The components are often outsourced, with less than 10 percent of the industry capable of manufacturing these in-house.

At present, more than half of China's products utilize monocrystalline silicon modules. About 45 percent of output employs polycrystalline variants, and the rest adopts thin-film counterparts.

Models priced $8 or below typically have monocrystalline panels, domestic LEDs and lithium batteries. Versions between $9 and $15 may employ chips from South Korea and NiMH or NiCd power sources.

More expensive variants are fitted with crystalline silicon modules and Cree or Osram chips. These are often water-resistant and suited for outdoor applications.

Solar string lights can be sourced from an estimated 200 enterprises in China. Roughly 80 percent of the suppliers manufacture the line together with other types of LED-based illumination.

About 95 percent of the supplier base consists of privately owned small and midsize companies. Joint ventures and foreign-invested operations constitute the rest.


2V solar panel
Product gallery

Fonta (Ningbo) Electronic Technology Co. Ltd

Model: SLS-150
MOQ: 10,000 sets
Delivery: 35 days
Description: 2V solar panel; 1.2V NiMH battery; 12hr operating time after full charge


2V 160mA solar panel


Fonta (Ningbo) Electronic Technology Co. Ltd

Model: SLD-096
MOQ: 14,000 sets
Delivery: 35 days
Description: 2V 160mA solar panel; 1.2V NiMH battery; 12hr operating time after full charge


5V 100mA monocrystalline silicon solar panel


Gather Sun Electronic & Technological Co. Ltd

Model: GA-D8024
MOQ: 2,000 units
Delivery: 25 to 45 days
Price: $11
Description: 5V 100mA monocrystalline silicon solar panel; 50 blue LEDs; three rechargeable 600mAh AA NiMH batteries; 6 to 8hr operating time after full charge


5V 100mA monocrystalline silicon solar panel


Gather Sun Electronic & Technological Co. Ltd

Model: GA-D8026
MOQ: 2,000 units
Delivery: 25 to 45 days
Price: $12
Description: 5V 100mA monocrystalline silicon solar panel; 50 white LEDs; three rechargeable 600mAh AA NiMH batteries; 6 to 8hr operating time after full charge


84.5x97.3x3.2mm amorphous silicon solar panel


Glamor Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd

Model: C7-OD-50
MOQ: 1,000 units
Delivery: 25 days
Description: 84.5x97.3x3.2mm amorphous silicon solar panel; 50 LEDs per string; AA Li-ion battery; 3V; 0.4W; 10hr operating time after full charge; white, warm white, red, yellow, blue and green; water- and weather-resistant; 10m length, 14.25cm LED spacing


84.5x97.3x3.2mm amorphous silicon solar panel


Glamor Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd

Model: S3-OD-50
MOQ: 1,000 units
Delivery: 25 days
Description: 84.5x97.3x3.2mm amorphous silicon solar panel; 50 LEDs per string; AA Li-ion battery; 3V; 0.4W; 10hr operating time after full charge; white, warm white, red, yellow, blue and green; water- and weather-resistant; 10m length, 14.25cm LED spacing




Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.



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