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Solar For The Pros
Mike Dahl, LC/DBM


Professional grade solar fixtures for landscapes are entering the marketplace such as these well lights and path lights by Penn Air Solar, which says the fixtures provide over 40 hours of light when fully charged by only six to eight hours of direct sunlight. They come with a 10-year warranty including their nickel metal hydride batteries. One key installation advantage is that no trenching or drilling is required to run wires.


Sun-Dot in-grade lights have a #316 stainless steel rim and screws, aluminum-alloy body and shatterproof polycarbonate lens, and can withstand 20 tons of pressure.


The UL marine listed fixtures can be installed underwater and are available with interchangeable lighting pucks to change colors from warm white, to green, red, or amber.

Solar landscape lights have been around for some time but professional products have been hard to come by. That was the conclusion of Herman Philhower, the founder and CEO of Penn Air Group, an engineering firm whose services include HVAC testing, balancing and remediation, as well as providing third party verification that facilities were designed and built using strategies such as LEED(R) to improve performance metrics including energy consumption.

"I've been a big fan of solar lighting for about 10 years," Philhower recounts. "Having a boat dock, I tried to find a solar dock light that would give (it) a nice glow for safety as well as great accents to enhance the appearance. I got tired of replacing them every year and decided to research the possibility of developing a solar light that would last for many years and be maintenance free."

He teamed with a solar lighting engineer and started the development process, reportedly using new technology that the other manufacturers have yet to foster. The resulting products were engineered for "contractors interested in professional lighting products that last, save money, and can qualify for lower insurance premiums for clients."

As of now, two products are available for landscape use from this new company, Penn Air Solar: the Sun-Dot, an in-grade light that can be mounted underwater if needed, and the Sun-Glow, which can be mounted on a stake as a path light, mounted on vertical surfaces with a wall mount, or flush mounted on posts, wall caps and the like. The company also produces a specialized boat dock light that is incorporated into a tie-up cleat.

As seen in LC/DBM magazine, November 2016.

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December 10, 2018, 3:53 am PST

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