Many older homes and businesses have lamp posts with lights that no longer work. As you may know these lamp posts are often far from being eco-friendly. Plus, they can also have unsightly, broken fixtures and peeling paint on the posts themselves.
Rather than tearing out these light fixtures and paying for landscaping work, find out how to convert the lamp post to solar in six easy steps.
What's In This Article
What You’ll Need
- Solar light with a base and installation kit
- Necessary hardware
- Safety goggles and gloves
- Hand saw and other tools
- Sandpaper for metal
- Steel wool
Step 1: Don Your Safety Gear
Since you’re working with metal, bulb sockets, and old paint, put your safety goggles and gloves on before you begin doing any work. This is also a smart step before you begin investigating the gas lines or electrical wires that may be present in the lamp post.
Step 2: Safely Remove Gas or Electric Lines
If your existing lamp post fixture has gas lights or electrical lines, you’ll need to have them removed.
Always hire a licensed electrician to disconnect any utilities safely.
It’s worth highlighting that if you’re not familiar with these connections, it’s extremely dangerous to DIY.
Step 3: Ensure a Clear View
Some homeowners have issues with trees near their lamp posts. If you have large trees near the post, the new solar light will not fully charge. To solve this problem, you can move the post or buy a battery pack to put in a sunny spot in the yard.
You will have to attach the wires to the light, which means you might need to bury them in your yard. Burying wires and using a solar battery pack might be easier than moving the post, which will need to be anchored in place.
Step 4: Remove the Original Light Fixture
The first step is to remove the original light fixture. If it is welded in place, you might need to use a hand saw to remove it. Your new solar lights will go atop the old post, so consider the height you want before you begin sawing off of the old fixture.
Step 5: Even the Top of the Post
After removing the fixture, you will want to even the top of the post. You can do this with sandpaper designed for metal. Before you begin sanding, put on your respirator, so you do not inhale shavings (1).
Step 6: Clean the Post
Before you attach the new solar lights, take this time to clean the post. You can use steel wool to scrub the old paint off the post and prepare it for fresh paint.
Wear your respirator and safety gear while cleaning.
Step 7: Repaint the Post
After cleaning the post and prepping it, you can apply a fresh coat of paint. Spray paint is a good choice, but you can also brush on the color. Buy paint intended for outdoor use on metal objects. You might need to apply two coats.
Repainting the post is easier to do before putting the new solar lights on because you can paint the entire post. Your new fixture should have a base that sits over the highest point of the post. So, if you apply the solar lights first, you might have to tape off the fixture’s bottom so you don’t get paint on them.
Step 6: Attach your Solar Lamp Post Lantern
Once you have evened the top of the post, the next step in our guide on how to convert lamp post to solar is to attach your new solar lights. This is where you cut down on your household’s greenhouse gas emissions (2). Hooray!
The average American household produces 6.8 metric tons of greenhouse gas emission from electricity each year. By using solar energy to power your home, greenhouse gas emissions from electricity could decrease considerably.
Now back to attaching your solar lamp post lantern. If your fixture does not have a base, you will need one. You might also need to purchase other hardware for attaching the fixture unless your new light comes with a conversion kit.
Some outdoor solar lamp post light kits come with everything you need to install them on an old lamp post. This makes them one of our top options for DIY outdoor lighting without electricity.
In the end, you will want a fixture with a base that fits over the shaft and has tightening screws. No matter what, follow the installation instructions included in the packaging. To conclude this guide on how to convert lamp post to solar, we recommend this great video by Gama Sonic to help everything set in:
How Can I Make My Solar Light Last Longer?
You can make you solar light last longer by choosing the right bulb, and providing the right care. For bulb choice, be on the lookout for Energy Star rated options (3).
If you’re not able to find Energy Star rated solar lights, another way to prolong the lifespan of your solar lights is to make sure they’re turned off when they’re not in use and to keep up on battery maintenance.
How Many Years Does a Solar Battery Last?
How Do You Make a Solar Lamp Post?
You can make a solar lamp post from scratch by installing your own lamp post, and picking a solar lamp post light that’s compatible.
You can mount your solar-powered lamp post in various ways, including in cement, or by stake if it’s in the grass or dirt. Since there’s no need for wires, you can get creative with their placement, as long as they remain unobscured and receive plenty of sunlight.
- Sanding Machine Safety. Retrieved from: https://lsa.umich.edu/instrumentshop/student-shop/shop-safety/sanding-machine-safety.html
- What Can Solar Do for You. Retrieved from: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/what-can-solar-do-you
- Frequently Asked Questions: Lighting Choices to Save You Money. Retrieved from: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/frequently-asked-questions-lighting-choices-save-you-money
- Battery storage for your home. Retrieved from: https://www.pge.com/en_US/residential/solar-and-vehicles/other-solar-options/battery-storage-for-residential-customers.page