Solar lights are awesome and even though they are not as bright as a traditional electric indoor light, you can still use them to decorate your patio or deck area. However, it can be frustrating when they suddenly don’t work one night. There are many reasons this may happen, but it happens more during the winter months. We have listed a few of our favorite tricks and tips for keeping solar lights lit all winter long.
Can I Charge Solar Lights Without the Sun?
The key to getting the best out of your solar lights is using them in the right place. Even on overcast days, you can get some good light with the right placement.
Can I Charge Solar Lights Indoors?
Yes, you can definitely bring your solar lights indoors to charge! While it’s best to leave them in the sun (weather permitting), there are a few different ways of charging your lights inside. You can put them next to a window to get sunlight from indoor, or you can even use normal lightbulbs to charge them. If the solar lights have a USB port, you can use things such as power banks and even your laptop to charge up the light ready for the evening.
Will Solar Lights Charge On A Cloudy Day?
When it’s dark and cloudy, solar powered lights won’t be able to give you the lighting boost you need. It is because the light is needed to charge the battery.
How To Charge Solar Lights Without Sunlight
1. Make Use of Incandescent Light
I know it seems odd to use a light that’s plugged into power a light that’s supposed to be energy-saving. However, it is a reliable way of ensuring your solar lights will be ready for whatever you need them for in the evening. So, incandescent light will be a great way to guarantee the solar lights will charge up as both sunlight and incandescent light have similar wavelengths and spectrums. However, its important to note that it will take them longer to charge up when compared to direct sunlight (possibly up to 5 hours more). Using a bulb with a wattage of 40W to 100W to yield the best results.
2. Make Use of an LED Light Source
LED lights can also be used to charge up solar lights. It will give around the same result as a normal light bulb, but the LED light may perform slightly better due to the fact it covers more of the light spectrum.
3. Make Use of the Little Light During Winter/Cloudy Weathers
Although it may seem counter-intuitive to use solar-powered outdoor lighting in inclement weather, when the weather is cold, it is actually easier than you might think. There’s still a small beam of light during these days, hitting the receptors of the PV cells of your solar lights. The effectiveness of these receptors does not depend on the intensity of heat or distance between a source of energy and receptors. Solar panels tend to work better when they are cool because the sun’s energy is more efficiently absorbed by cold materials. In that case, the thermal efficiency will be lower, meaning that more of the electricity you produce will go towards your electricity bill
How to Charge Solar Lights More Effectively
1. Clean the Solar Panels
The continued care of your solar lights is very important. Many people assume that as long as the lights are sitting out during the day, charging occurs. This is not always so. If the dirt and debris that layer your solar panels remain there, your battery may not get fully charged. Regular solar panel cleaning is almost as essential as cleaning your car or home windows. Un-cleaned panels will be less effective during the daylight hours when they need to be working hard. So regular maintenance is a must be to ensure you get the most from your outdoor lights.
When cleaning your solar outdoor lights, it is best to ensure that you allow the fixtures to completely cool off before attempting to clean. A small amount of soapy water and a soft cloth will do the trick. Be sure to use a soft-bristled brush to remove any debris or stubborn spots. We recommend cleaning your solar panels about once per month to ensure they’re absorbing as much sunlight as possible. However, if you reside in a particularly dusty area, you may need to perform the task more frequently.
When cleaning outdoor lighting fixtures make sure that you start with a proper cleaning solution. Soap and water is adequate for the glass and plastic components; just make sure to rinse them off thoroughly afterward. Some cleaning solutions can also be helpful when it comes to removing the buildup of dirt from metal or plastic parts on the fixture. Remove any debris that might be stuck to the light fixtures and globes with a soft cloth, scrub brush, or rag. Adjust the height of your lighting fixtures at this point to illuminate your
While inspecting your globes and fixtures, check them for damage such as cracked globes, cracks in metal components, or dents in plastic. If you see any signs of damage, you may be able to find replacement parts online which are considerably less expensive than replacing the whole fixture.
2. Reposition the Angle of the Solar Light to Receive More Light
It’s important to ensure the angle of the solar panels faces the direction of the sun, especially during the winter months as there’s less sunlight on these days.
You may also want to reposition them somewhere that can receive more sunlight for more of the day. It is possible to find places that allow the lights to charge for up to 10 hours in the right place. So, make sure you are not placing them in places that are in the shade, such as under trees.
3. Switch Off Your Solar Light and Let It Charge For 72 hours
When you want to make sure a battery will stay charged for a long time, use what’s called a “deep charge.” This is turning the device off for a long time. By doing this a couple of times a month, it can have improved the efficiency of the lights and make them last longer.
4. Make Use of a Mirror to Redirect Light to Your Solar Light
You can also use mirrors to help reflect sunlight towards the solar panels. This is a great way to ensure as much efficiency as possible for charging.
It may take a while to place the mirrors in the perfect position to make sure the sunlight reflects into the panel, and you may have to reposition the mirrors during the day as well. But it does mean you won’t be needing artificial light to charge your solar lights.
Wrapping Things Up
So, there are a number of ways to try and make sure the solar lights on your property will last as long as possible, even in the winter months. Direct sunlight is not the only option, and now you know the alternatives!