How to Charge Solar Lights : The Definitive Guide

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How to Charge Solar Lights

No doubt, using solar lights is an excellent way to decrease the global warming footprint on the earth. Not only these lights work on renewable energy, but they also deliver perfect illumination, and this is enough to prove why smart people are considering solar lights over conventional light.

But there is a significant downside attached to solar lights! These lights only work best in ample sunlight, and there are some times when there is no sunlight available.

Will the solar lights work if there is no sunlight available? The answer is “Yes”!

There are multiple easy ways on how to charge solar lights in case there is not enough sunlight available. In this article, you will find the most trusted and proven methods to charge your solar lights even on cloudy days and days without sun.

How Do Solar Lights Work?

Whether you are planning to buy a regular solar garden stake, or you need a complete solar light setup for your garden, it is imperative to know how these lights work.

All solar lights irrespective of the shape and size are based on a similar working model. There are four major components of solar light that make it work.

1. The solar panel
2. The battery
3. The control electronics
4. The light fixture (bulb or LED)

How Do Solar Lights Work

Solar light is based on a straightforward working process, and the process starts with charging the battery. In the day time, the solar panel absorbs most of the sunlight falling on it. With the help of the small photovoltaic cells, the control electronics convert the solar energy into electrical energy and stores it into the battery.

Most of the solar lights come equipped with a light detecting sensor that turns the solar light on after sensing low availability of light in the atmosphere. The panel keeps on absorbing the charge until the battery gets fully charged.

The same process repeats every day, and therefore your solar light illuminates in the night. The charge of the battery strictly depends on the availability of sunlight, and the condition of the solar panel.

So if there is no sunlight available, then you have to charge the solar light using the following methods described below.

How to charge Solar Lights without Sun?

There is an abundance of easy ways available to charge solar lights without the sun. However, each method takes different time and has varying effectiveness in charging the lights. We have listed different methods on how to charge solar lights and you can stick to the one that is best suitable for you.

How to Charge Solar Lights Indoors?

There is a huge list of methods you can opt for to charge solar lights indoors without stepping out of your house. These methods require the everyday appliances and items we use, and we are sure you can charge the solar lights much effortlessly.

Using Incandescent Light Bulbs

How to Charge Solar Lights Indoors

You might be wondering whether it is possible to charge the solar lights via an incandescent light bulb! Well, we tried this method, and it worked fantastically. However there are some disadvantages of using it, and we will discuss them later.

If you have any incandescent light bulb in your home, then you might be aware of the heat it releases while turned on. The filament inside these bulbs heat up to provide light, and you can use this heat energy to charge your solar lights.

There is a similarity in the wavelength of sunlight and the light emitted by the incandescent bulb; therefore, the photovoltaic cells of the panel will detect it to charge the battery.

If you have a smaller solar light or a solar flashlight, then you can use these bulbs to generate charge in the battery. These bulbs aren’t effective for massive solar lights, as they need immense energy to charge the battery.

How to Charge a Solar Light with an Incandescent Bulb?

You just cannot place the solar panel below the incandescent bulb to charge it. There is a specific way, and we have used it to charge a solar light.

Place the solar panel approximately 20 inches away from the bulb in such a way that the panel gets an abundance of light. Every photovoltaic cell on the panel should get the light to produce charge quickly and efficiently.

The bigger the solar panel, the bigger the bulb you need. Generally, incandescent bulbs can produce light ranging from 40-100 watts, so you need a bigger bulb to charge a bigger solar light.

Advantages of Using Incandescent Bulb
  • A sure-shot method to charge the solar light
  • Safe and works in the indoor
  • Cost-effective
Disadvantages of Using Incandescent Bulb
  • It takes a lot of time to charge
  • You will feel the heat in the atmosphere of your house
Is There Any Substitute to Incandescent Bulbs?

If you don’t have an incandescent bulb, then you can use some other types of bulbs commonly found in modern homes.

1. LED Bulbs
LED Bulbs

LED bulbs are useful when it comes to charging the solar lights. The light emitted by an LED source consists of visible light and ultraviolet waves of a different wavelength. You can use an LED bulb to charge the solar light.

2. UV Lamps
UV Lamps

UV lamps are effective in charging solar lights, but these have some safety hazards. The heat and UV rays emitted by these lamps are high, and therefore you have to be extra careful while using them to charge the solar light.

How to Charge Solar Lights Without Sunlight Outdoors?

So you think that charging solar lights indoors won’t work for you? You can charge them outdoors as well. The sun is the primary source to charge solar lights outdoors, even if it is not visible. You need some special equipment to charge your solar lights outdoors.

Charging Your Solar Batteries on Cloudy Days

Thick clouds can block most of the sunlight from reaching the ground. As a result, solar light takes more time to charge, and on some days it doesn’t even charge more than 50%.

The best way to charge your solar light on a cloudy day is by using an amorphous solar panel. This type of solar panel is more capable of gathering the sunlight as compared to monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels.

The only downside of using an amorphous solar panel is that these are less efficient and take more time to charge the solar light. But these work well even on cloudy days, and therefore you should opt for an amorphous panel if the sky in your area remains cloudy most of the time.

How to Charge Solar Lights in Winter?

When winter knocks your door, then you should prepare to muster your solar lights in a different way. Charging the solar lights is a bit trickier in winters. If the temperature in your area falls below 0-degree, then it can impact the solar light charging process.

There are two things you need to keep in mind to charge the solar lights in winter.

How to Charge Solar Lights in Winter

Tip 1: Clean the Solar Panel Everyday

In winter, snow accumulates over solar panels, and it reduces the efficiency of the photovoltaic cells to capture the sunlight. Moreover, the snow can reflect the sunlight back into the sky so that the panel won’t charge the batteries.

You should clean the solar panel every day so that there is no snow left behind, and the panel is ready to capture most of the sunlight. Use a soft bristle brush to clean the panels, or you can even use a piece of cloth to scrub the snow off the panel.

Tip 2: Relocate the Solar Panels

The daylight hours in winters are comparatively lesser than the summers. Also, frequent shadowing leads the solar panel stranded without sunlight, which means reduced efficiency.

What you should do is find an area outside your home that remains in the sunlight most of the time. Relocate the solar panel to the particular area, and your solar light will charge efficiently even during winters.

You can relocate the solar panel back to its original place during summers.

Charging Solar Lights through Windows

If you live in an area where the solar panels can get stolen, then it’s quite evident why you will put them behind the glass. Charging solar panels through windows falls under charging them using sunlight because that is the only source available to charge the batteries.

Yes, you can charge your solar lights through windows, but there are some major drawbacks of charging the solar lights through windows. Most of the light gets reflected back due to the glass, and it will impact the light absorbing efficiency of the solar panels.

Also, you have to be extra careful about the position of the sun as the rays entering through the glass can refract in some other direction by not targeting the solar panels.


Q1: Can I Charge my Solar Lights Through Tinted Windows?

It entirely depends on the type of tint on your window. Some tints are so dark thick that they block the entire sunlight sticking in the window glass, so in that case, the solar light will not charge. However, if the tint is translucent and allows sunlight to pass through it, then the solar light will charge, but the charging process will be gradual as compared to direct sunlight.

You can change the window tint with a translucent one if you want to charge your solar lights through windows. It is not a very effective way; still, people in remote areas practice this technique to protect their solar panels from getting stolen.

Q2: Will a Solar Panel charge if there’s no Direct Sunlight?

Yes, the solar panel will charge even if there is no direct sunlight falling on it. The photovoltaic cells absorb the sunlight from the atmosphere to charge the batteries. However, the batteries will take more time to get recharged if there is no direct sunlight falling on the panels, but the charging process will continue.

Q3: Will charging the Solar Light Indoor impacts its Lifespan?

LED Flame Effect Light Bulb

No, charging the solar light indoors by using an artificial light source will not curtail its lifespan. You can rest assured that you will still get good longevity from the solar lights even if you charge them inside your home.

Here is the complete guide on how long do solar lights last and tips to help your solar lights last longer.

Q4: Is it Possible to Charge Solar Light Using an Artificial Light Source?

Yes, you can charge the solar lights using an artificial source, but it will depend on some parameters. First of all, you need the right type of light, including an incandescent bulb or an LED that has good wattage.

The more powerful artificial light source means quick charging and better results. But we don’t recommend charging the solar panel in an artificial light source if there is ample sunlight available outside.

Q5: Are Hotter Days Better for Charging Solar Lights?

The answer is no! There is a specific limit of temperature ideal for charging the solar lights. If the temperature rises above, then the solar panel will start performing worse. The reason behind is that higher temperature makes the electrons jump into an excited state, which leads to a decrease in the voltage. Click here to know more.

Final Thoughts

These how to charge your solar light tips will assist you in charging the solar light batteries even if there is no sunlight available, or it is a cloudy day. However, you should follow a proper maintenance regimen to make sure that the solar panels remain clean, and the photovoltaic cells are exposed to absorb the sunlight.

All the methods listed here are tried and tested, which means your solar lights will charge for sure! Do keep in mind that charging solar lights without sunlight decreases its efficiency, so you should never charge them indoors if the sunlight is available.


Last update on 2021-09-05 at 22:45 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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