How Solar Lights Work Even Without Sun: Everything You Need To Know

The concept of using the sun’s energy to create electricity and power up a multitude of things is amazing. Solar lights are a renewable source of energy. You tend to find solar panels located on the roofs of buildings, houses, and even the lights that line our streets. Despite how interesting and environmentally friendly it sounds, you must have thought about finding out more about how this works. Do you know what is there to know more? Keep reading to find out how this incredible and reliable source of energy works even without the sunlight:

How Solar Lights Work Even Without Sun: Everything You Need To Know

What are They?

Solar light is a system that consists of a charge controller, an LED lamp, an inverter, a battery, and solar panels. The LED lamp is lit by electric power that is generated from the batteries. The battery charged with this solar power uses the photovoltaic effect to charge the ions, converting light into electric power.

Understanding the function of solar panels is key to grasping how solar energy becomes usable electricity. The panels have solar cells, which are the building blocks of a larger system, connected in a series to produce direct current (DC).

Incandescent Bulb

This is a type of light with a wire filament that is heated until it glows. The filament exists inside a glade bulb with a vacuum or inert gas which protects the filament from oxidation. You might be wondering what this has to do with solar lights. Yes, solar lights can be charged with a lightbulb, you need to place solar panels directly underneath a household light to charge them efficiently without the use of sunlight. This is a better form of charging your solar lights than the light it receives on a cloudy day. Solar lights need light to charge up however this light does not necessarily need to come from the sun.

The receptors on solar panels have been designed in a way that they can detect even the most modest wavelength of light. The wavelengths emitted from the incandescent light are similar to the sun’ except that the wavelengths from the sun are much stronger. The great thing about using incandescent light to charge your solar lights is that this can be done at any time. It can be used in any weather conditions and you will always be able to rely on your solar lights as an energy source.

Cloudy Days

Many people believe that the only way to utilize solar lights efficiently is if you live in a warm, sunny climate. And that just isn’t true. Solar lights have not been designed to only be charged by the sun. Solar lights are built with receptors that receive light, store it and convert it to energy irrespective of how far away the sun is. These receptors are pretty sensitive and they can capture any ray of light no matter how small. This is what gives solar lights the ability to get charge even on cloudy days. As long as the sun is around, your solar lights will get charged.

It is important to note that solar lights won’t be charged the same way as they would when they are receiving direct sunlight. This is because they are only receiving a fraction of the light on cloudy days. So you should try solar savings when the sun is shining directly. This does mean that you will receive less power from your solar lights on cloudy days. Solar lights charge more effectively in cold temperatures.”

LED Light

Instead of using an incandescent light, you can use an LED light to charge your solar light. You will receive a similar result however, LED lights do cover a wider range of spectrum which may charge it better than an incandescent light. You can use a battery-operated LED light such as an LED flashlight to charge solar lights. This is great for when you’re away from home and outdoors and you need to quickly charge a solar light.

Alternative Sources

Some solar LED lights have an alternative charging method such as through a USB charger. This will enable you to charge it by plugging it into a socket or power bank. This method can be expensive however, depending on you and your needs, this could be convenient.

Clean Up

A super simple but potentially overlooked tip; clean your panels! Cleaning any dust, grime, or dirt off the surface of the panels will help them charge much more efficiently. This is especially good for when there is limited sunlight or direct sunlight. Ensure that you are gentle when cleaning, the best method is to use a microfiber cloth and clear water. You should avoid using detergents as this could cause marks or streaks, making it harder for the panels to charge.


Did you know that you can use mirrors to redirect sunlight to the solar lights? If your lights are located under a shadow, placing a mirror strategically so that the sun lights are reflected onto the panels will help them charge a lot better. Although this may not be the most efficient trick in the book, it certainly does the job and can help out some of those poorly positioned lights.

It’s best to use mirrors that are double the size of the panel. This increases the chances of the solar panels receiving as much sunlight as possible. You will want to place the mirrors in a diagonal position on the ground. Avoid suspending the mirrors above the solar lights as much as you can. If you opt for this mirror method, you must ensure that you are moving the mirrors regularly along with the movement of the sun.

Turn Off The Lights

It’s recommended to turn off your lights once a month. They can still charge when they’re off, in fact, they charge a lot better. Turning them off regularly helps maintain them to ensure that they are working efficiently. This is known as ‘deep charge’. Give it a go!

How Solar Lights Work Even Without Sun: Everything You Need To Know

We hope we’ve cleared up a few misconceptions for you around solar lights and when and where is best to use them. Accessing solar-powered energy is a lot easier than you may think and can be used in a variety of climates. Just ensure that you are prepared and are willing to use some elbow grease to get the lights working as efficiently as possible.


South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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