Are you interested in harnessing the sun’s power to illuminate your home while contributing to a greener planet? Solar lights may be the perfect solution for you.

Solar lighting is gaining popularity as the world seeks sustainable energy solutions. As energy consumption trends shift, more and more households are turning to solar lights to reduce their dependence on traditional power sources. But how do solar lights work and require direct sunlight to function effectively? If you’re curious about the effectiveness of solar lights and whether they can operate in shaded areas, this article will provide you with the answers you need.

Key Takeaways

  • Solar lights do not require direct sunlight; they can work in the shade or with indirect sunlight.
  • Solar lights operate by harnessing energy from the sun through photovoltaic cells, storing it in batteries, and activating the lights at night.
  • To optimise solar panel charging, keep panels clean, consider separate panel installation, use mirrors to redirect sunlight, deep charge batteries occasionally, and even utilise artificial lighting sources like incandescent bulbs or LED lights.

How Do Solar Lights Work?

When planning to install solar lights, the top priority is the place you should install them. Of course, you don’t want to ruin the aesthetics of your home. Chances are you want to place it in the shaded area. First, understand how solar panels work to know how much energy it needs to give optimum performance.

The following five steps below explain how solar panels work.

Panels receive energy from the sun.

During peak sun hours, the panels attached to the solar lights receive energy from the sun. The photovoltaic cells or the solar cells in the panel absorb the energy from the sunlight.

The energy gets converted into electricity.

The energy soaked by the photovoltaic cells creates an electrical charge. The charge starts moving in reaction to the electric field in the solar panel cells, ultimately generating electricity in the solar panel.

The electric power charges the batteries.

The photovoltaic cells are directly wired to the solar battery. Once the electricity flows, the batteries get charged and store the electrical power. It ensures that when the sunlight is no longer available, the charge will power the solar lights.

The batteries get activated at night.

Every solar light has a photoresistor that detects whether sunlight is available. When the photoresistor can’t spot daylight at sundown, the attached controller activates the batteries automatically.

The lights switch on.

As the controller activates the batteries, the stored power gets released, and the light switches on.

A solar lighting device needs to receive direct sunlight for 4 to 10 hours to work at its optimum level. When fully charged, the outdoor lights can stay on all night long.

Solar Garden Lights

Reasons Why Solar Lights Aren’t Lasting Nightlong

Many people notice that their solar lights don’t work in winter. That’s more because of the sunlight it’s getting than the cold weather. A cloudy day means less visible sun and sunlight. Hence, the lights don’t get adequately charged.

However, visible sunlight is not the only reason behind the malfunctioning of your solar-powered lights. The other causes may include the following:

Water Buildup in the Circuit

Solar lights can work all year long in all weather conditions. However, frequent rains can make the solar panel wet. And sometimes, the excess water seeps into the circuit. The type of solar light you install affects durability, so check the details while purchasing your solar lights.

Batteries are Dead

Although solar lights use rechargeable batteries, they also have a limited life span. The batteries die eventually after a few years of useĀ and don’t get recharged. It might be one of the reasons that your solar lights are not working.

If that’s the case, replace the batteries with new ones and watch your solar lights sparkle again.

Dirt in the Panel

Solar panels quickly accumulate dirt over time. It makes it difficult for the panels to capture solar energy. Remove the dirt from its surface as often as possible to ensure enough sunlight reaches the board.

Box of Solar Lights

How to Get More Sunlight to Charge Solar Panels?

You may think you can’t charge a solar panel in indirect sunlight or indoors. Since we are talking about solar lights, it should use solar power, as the name suggests, right? However, it’s not entirely true. You can always use Optimisers, Microinverters, or solar inverters if there are shading issues.

Here are some other ways that allow more sunlight to charge solar panels.

Clean the Solar Panels

Solar panels can work even with less sunlight if you keep them clean and remove grime from them frequently. In winter, snow can also block light, making it impossible for solar panels to harness solar energy. Keep the solar boards clean and tidy to make light work effectively.

For better results:

  • Wipe the surface of the panel with a slightly wet microfiber cloth
  • Ensure the cloth is clean, as it may cause streaks on the panel surface
  • Avoid using detergent or soap if it is not essential

Install Separate Solar Panels

Another ingenious tip to get more sunlight and optimise solar lights’ charge is to use separate solar panels. Installing solar panels separately allows you to adjust their position to capture more sunlight.

You could change its position and maximise sunlight even if placed in a shady area.

Place Mirrors to Redirect Sunlight

Using mirrors to redirect sunlight is another effective way to get the most out of the sun in the winter. Mirrors help the panels receive light even if placed in the shade.

  • Use mirrors double the size of panels to redirect more sunlight
  • Place the mirrors in a diagonal position from the ground to reflect more sun rays

Deep Charge the Batteries

Switch off your solar light and let it charge for 72 hours straight. It’s a deep charge method that allows you to use and charge your solar batteries more effectively. Try this method once or twice a month to increase the battery life.

Use Artificial Lights

Yes, it’s true. As mentioned earlier in the article, you can use artificial lighting to charge your solar lights. An incandescent bulb can charge the lights properly. Place the solar panel underneath the bulb to charge it rapidly.

The closer the solar light is to the bulb, the faster it will charge.

Using LED Lights to Charge

You can even use LED flashlights to power the solar lights. When you don’t have access to the indoor lighting system in an emergency, you can use LED lights to charge the solar lighting panel successfully.

Our Expertise in Solar Lights

At Solar Panels Network, we’re here to provide you with valuable information and support regarding solar lighting. With our experience and understanding of the solar lighting industry, our team of experts is prepared to assist you in finding the right lighting solution for your needs. Whether you’re interested in improving your outdoor spaces, conserving energy, or adopting a more sustainable approach, we’re well-equipped to help. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or inquiries.

Concluding Thoughts

So, what do you conclude from the above information? Solar lights work in the shade and don’t necessarily require direct sunlight to generate light. Though direct sunlight is the best and most effective method to charge solar panels, alternatives are also available.

You can charge them both indoors and outdoors. A solar panel costs more at the beginning. However, they are incredibly convenient and cost-effective in the long run.

About the Author

Solar Panels Network stands at the forefront of solar energy solutions, driven by a team of seasoned solar engineers and energy consultants. With over decades of experience in delivering high-quality solar installations and maintenance, we are committed to promoting sustainable energy through customer-centric, tailored solutions. Our articles reflect this commitment, crafted collaboratively by experts to provide accurate, up-to-date insights into solar technology, ensuring our readers are well-informed and empowered in their solar energy decisions.