Why We Took 9 Months to Launch our Solar Garden Lights


With ten years of expertise in the lighting industry, Sunco is well-versed in the importance of thoughtful lighting design. This knowledge is evident in the new solar path lights, which are some of the first products created right here in Sunco’s office. I sat down with our product designer Ahmed to explore the process behind bringing these new products to life and to learn what it takes to create something completely unique to the market. 

Ahmed was eager to talk me through the last few months of the design process. He pulled up a chair for me and rolled out the product prints, enthusiastic to share his work. 

“We needed to develop our own design language-specific features or markings that are unique to a Sunco original,” Ahmed said.  

He went on to explain that this “design language” is more than just a logo, but rather, a distinctive style signature. This allows our customers to easily recognize our products and gives Sunco’s lights a sense of cohesion. 

Customer Collaboration 

The idea that felt most prominent in my conversation with Ahmed was the hope that these solar path lights could replicate the quality and style of highly priced, luxury lighting products while remaining affordable.  

“I had the chance to attend a lighting design expo in Italy at the start of this design process to gather as much insight as possible on the future of the industry in both style and functionality,” Ahmed explained. “These luxury brands –consider them the Gucci and Prada of the lighting world—are key indicators of what to expect on the market in the coming months.”  

All three designs feature sleek, modern elements that you might expect to find in an Italian luxe light expo. 

When asked about the approach he took when developing these lights, Ahmed had this to say: 

“We started by looking at competitor's products to see why people left bad reviews. Starting with this gives us a good baseline for which design flaws to look out for.” Ahmed continues, saying “I even decided to buy and test competitor products for myself. After testing and researching, I learned that some of the most pressing mistakes that exist on the current market with solar lights are things like flimsy material, short life span, discoloration, and poor light quality. I test a bunch of products myself and take notes on the good and bad of different solar lights.” 


“At the end of the day,” Ahmed said, “Our design process is a collaborative effort with our customers. A lot of companies don’t do this, but we take customers’ direct feedback and work from that to make our products better.” 

He then grabbed something off of his desk and held it up for me to see—a piece of the black plastic light pole. There was a crack running along the bottom.  

“This was the first prototype that we had manufactured. The bottom cracked when we were putting it together, so we added extra thickness to the light pole on our next set of manufacturer notes to make it more durable.” 

He held up the final version of one of the lights, tapping the bottom of the pole with his knuckles making a solid thud noise – sturdy as a rock. 

“I also noticed in competitor products that there was significant discoloration after too long in the sun, so we added a specialized material on the surface of the fixture to prevent sun damage.” 

What Makes Sunco Products Special 

I noted to Ahmed that the solar path lights that I had used in the past die quickly and asked if this was a flaw in the general product landscape, or if I was just buying poorly made lights. This is what he told me: 

“I realized that customers usually don’t know that many solar lights contain a battery that needs to be changed, just like any other wireless product. It’s possible the lights you used were bad quality, but a lot of people see their lights “burn out” and throw them away, thinking that they’re dead.”  

Ahmed twisted the lid off the Sunco solar lights and showed me a small battery pack, tucked away neatly inside the top of the pole in our square model, and integrated into the lid of the other two designs. 


“We wanted to make sure that the battery was easy to access and replace. All you have to do is pop the top off and the battery can slide out. So as long as there’s a battery in these, it will work for years.”  

It is valuable to note here that quality control is a complex project. Sunco’s design team recognizes that on the one hand, we could have developed an expensive solar light, showcasing a solid design partnered with a long-lasting internal battery. On the other hand, a more affordable solar light can still be designed incredibly well and requires a battery change every once in a while. The tradeoffs made in product design are ultimately for the benefit of the consumer so that they can have the best quality product at the best price.  



Ahmed also explained that this hidden battery pack has another benefit. “Keeping the battery inside the pole allows us to make the actual fixture much sleeker and more modern.” 

Three Unique Designs  

“We made three different styles of lights to give our customers options. While they are built with the same quality of materials so not to create excess waste, each light has its own unique features,” Ahmed explained.  

Luxe Model 


This was the first in-house design by Sunco that I’d seen. Ahmed handed me the finished product and it was heavier than I thought it would be. Sleek and standing between 7-13 inches tall, I thought it would feel as dainty as it looked, but the thick plastic of the pole felt durable. 

“The first iteration of Sunco’s new solar lights is the Luxe model.” Regarding these lights, Ahmed said, “Pulling from customer complaints and feedback, and even from my own experience with solar lights, we realized that path lights looked better when the glass/light cover was hidden. By giving this style a square ‘hood’, we were able to essentially hide the light source. We called this one ‘Luxe’ to speak to its sleek, luxurious look.  

“This is the model that I was talking about earlier, where we hid the battery pack inside the pole. We’re able to shave off a huge portion of the bulk that many solar lights have by integrating the battery.”  

Ahmed was excited to share this next bit with me as he took out his phone and opened up the product’s customer reviews on Amazon. 

“Something cool about product design is that sometimes, the customers figure out uses or features of our products that we didn't anticipate or plan out. We had one customer let us know that the base of this light fit perfectly into the umbrella hole on his outdoor patio set, which is a cool way to use these lights that we hadn’t considered.” 


Lotus Model 


“The second design from our in-house solar light collection is the Lotus model,” Ahmed said, holding up the next product, motioning to the top of the fixture. “Named after the lotus shape of the head.” 

This is probably the most standard of the three designs. Its function is to provide the most light possible, with a specialty finish on the cover to reduce glare. 


Ahmed went on to explain that during his long and thoughtful research, he found that many customers complained that their garden light was harsh on the eyes while walking. Sunco worked through a few live iterations of possible solutions before landing on the final result—this included the glare reduction as a safety feature to keep yards and walkways lit up without any issues.  


Bloom Model 


The Bloom model is my favorite of the three Sunco-designed solar lights, but maybe that’s just because I’m a sucker for light art. That's basically what this is—light art. It brings a soft elegance to any walkway, driveway, or yard. Ahmed had this to say about Bloom: 

“I liked the kinds of path lights that draw a design on the ground, but I think that this feature can be hard to do well. Sometimes, solar light designs can be really distracting. But we decided to use the same anti-glare technology from the Lotus model in these but on a smaller scale. This helps to reduce eye strain, but still shows off the petal design.”  


Unique Features 

Sunco works directly with its customers to create a product that highlights that collaboration. With the versatility of style, features, and functions, Sunco’s solar path lights are already a hit with customers. With a bunch of great reviews on Amazon already, one five-star review reads: 

“These solar lights are legit...You can change the color very easily with the push button switch. I have mine set to the daylight/white. They last all night long and shut off when the sun comes up. They are not expensive or too over the top but provide great illumination to the driveway. I am very pleased with these, and I am sure you will be too.” 


Another customer says: 

“I am an electrical contractor and have been buying Sunco products for years. I typically don't like solar landscape lights because of poor brightness and being too fragile. I saw these from Sunco and decided to try them. They are bright, have two brightness settings and have two color settings. They are well built and sturdy. I also like the ability to replace the battery. These landscape lights look like a home run.” 

Regarding the success of in-house designs, Ahmed said, “It’s all about customer feedback and really understanding and experimenting with different approaches to our products.   When we create something new and allow ourselves the time and thought to keep going back to it and make it better, we have the chance to elevate Sunco’s brand. I think that this really shines through in these products and will continue to as we roll our more Sunco originals in the future.” 


  • Posted on by CAL MOVI
  • Posted on by Drew
    Proud of you guys!

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