The best way to charge solar lights is with sunlight. However, even if you don’t have access to direct sunlight, you can still charge your solar lights in other ways. In overcast or winter weather, you can easily charge solar lights with indirect sunlight. What’s more, you can even charge your solar lights with no sunlight at all!
Charging with Indirect Sunlight
Clean your solar panels when using them in cloudy weather. Sunlight will still reach your solar lights in cloudy weather, although not as much as in sunny weather. Cleaning any dust, dirt, or grime off the surface of the panels will thus help your solar lights charge more efficiently and make better use of limited sunlight
Be very gentle when cleaning your solar panels. Use clean water and a microfiber cloth to scrub the dirt and grime off of your lights.
Avoid using detergents to clean the solar panels; these may cause streaking that could actually make it harder for the panels to charge.
If you’re in an area that has a lot of dust, pollen, sandstorms, or fires, wash off the layers of dust, pollen, dander, or ashes with a hose
Move the lights to be in the best position for receiving limited sunlight. Angle the solar panels to directly face the sun as it moves across the sky. This is especially important in winter, when there’s less sunlight available throughout the day.
This is a relatively labor-intensive method, since you’ll have to continually reposition the lights throughout the day. If you’re unable to do this, place the lights somewhere they’ll get the most sunlight throughout the day (e.g., the middle of a backyard).
For best results, charge your solar lights for 8-10 hours in full sunlight.
Be sure to place your solar lights so that they’re not blocked from receiving sunlight, as they would be, for example, under a tall tree.
Turn off the lights and let them charge more efficiently for 72 hours. Your solar lights will charge much more efficiently when they’re turned off. Be sure to leave them outside in a place where they’ll still receive as much sunlight as possible.
It’s recommended that you do this on a regular basis (e.g., once a month) in order to keep your solar lights working as effectively as possible.
This technique is known as a “deep charge” in the solar lighting industry.
Avoid placing your solar lights near street lights or porch lights. When solar lights are exposed to high-intensity light in the evenings, their sensitivity will decrease over time. For best results, place your lights as far away from artificial light as possible when using them in the evenings.
- Street lights, porch lights, and other types of automatic outdoor lighting are the most common causes of reduced solar light sensitivity over time.
- Note that this only applies to evenings when your lights are supposed to be running. It’s perfectly fine to expose your solar lights to artificial lighting when they’re turned off or charging.