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How Much Energy do Christmas Lights Use?

Every year, the United States uses approximately 6.63 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to power Christmas lights. That's enough to power 14 million refrigerators. If you are one of those who goes all out in the Christmas light decorations of your house, you might be using a lot of energy. It really all depends on the type of bulbs, the number of bulbs, the light display size, and the energy source you use.

Should You be Worried?

While it may not seem like Christmas lights use that much energy, households that choose a lot of traditional, incandescent light displays could trip their breakers if they exceed amp capacity. This is where you need to be careful and aware of how many watts you’re using. Circuits should never exceed 80% of their max wattage capacity.

Traditional Christmas lights are referred to as incandescent lights. These lights work by heating up a source in the middle of the bulb that lights up the surrounding bulb. LED lights have started to become more popular than traditional bulbs for their lower energy usage and durability.

Are Christmas Lights Energy-Efficient?

While incandescent Christmas lights do their job of providing some much-needed holiday cheer, they end up using a lot of energy compared to LED or solar-powered lights. Incandescent wattage is on average 80% to 90% more than LED wattage, which also makes powering that type of display more expensive. You shouldn’t connect more than four or five strands of incandescent lights. Anything more than that won’t be able to handle the wattage.

LED Christmas lights offer a less energy-intensive option to provide a cozy, classic Christmas aesthetic to your front yard. Using 300 C9 LED bulbs to cover all the roof lines of your home will end up using only 29 watts as compared to the 2,100 watts used by incandescent lighting. The difference is extreme.

You can connect multiple strands of LED lights and reduce the number of outlets required for setting up your display. Many LED lights allow you to connect over 50 strands together depending on the bulb count. So you might be closer to recreating the North Pole in your own front yard.

How do Christmas Lights Impact Your Wallet?

On average Americans pay $19.81 to light a Christmas display for 34 days leading up to New Year’s. The calculations used were ones where the light displays were active for six hours every night, used ten strands of incadescent lights, and included two inflatable decorations.

So how much is your winter wonderland dream display really costing you? To calculate your power usage:

  1. Know your wattage. Find out how many total watts you will be using.

  2. Multiply your wattage by 0.001 to find kilo-watt hours.

  3. Multiply by 5 hours a day to find kwh/day.

  4. Multiply by 30 days to find kwh/season.

  5. Multiply by your cost of power usage found on your electric bill to calculate cost.

Easy-to-use online calculators are also readily available online.

How to Reduce Christmas Lights' Energy Usage

Consider lighting up with solar panels if you’re thinking of going all-out with your holly jolly display this year but want to be kinder to your wallet and/or to the environment. Solar panels only produce energy during the day, so sending any excess solar power to backup power solutions allows you to power your lights at night. Solar power produced during the day will help offset your electricity costs at night because you can pull stored energy from your solar battery instead of the grid.

Solar panels use renewable energy from the sun to power your home and are designed to work in all weather conditions, including cloudy days and overnight using ultraviolet light. Using solar panels for Christmas lights has many benefits.


This is the biggest benefit of using solar power. By using solar panels to light Christmas lights, you are an active part of the solution to fight back against global warming, reducing your carbon footprint. Secure a greener and better future by choosing something that runs off of endless renewable energy.


While the difference in cost savings between using LED lights and solar lights might not seem like much at first, you should consider that you will only have to purchase your solar panel setup once. After that, it will pay for itself over and over for many years to come. Compared to traditional incandescent lights, you will notice an instant impact on your wallet.


Rather than being stuck with a limited amount of outlets, you can hang solar lights anywhere you want without worrying about the closest outlet or unsightly extension cords. You can light up the bushes furthest from your front door with ease, and avoid worrying about how many strands you can connect, so let your imagination run wild.


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! If you’re ready to make the switch this holiday season or are considering giving the gift of solar energy to a loved one, partner with us at Sunshine City Solar. We are a full-service solar company and have been installing solar panel systems for homes and businesses for years.

Contact us today, or schedule your free consultation now and enjoy cost-efficient, long-lasting lights and renewable energy in the new year.

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