Why Are My Solar Lights Not Working? - Backyard Boss
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Why Are My Solar Lights Not Working?

One of the best ways to decorate and keep your front lawn or garden lit is to add some solar powered lights. Whether they are small decoration lights to just add a small element of colour to your lawn at night or they are bigger lights to brighten up the walkway of your garden, solar lights are the way to go.

Benefits and Advantages of Solar Lights

Solar photovoltaic powered lamp posts on the blue skies with sun

There are many different benefits and advantages to using solar lights as well. One of the biggest benefits of using solar lights is that they are highly energy efficient, as well as effective.

Do you know how it works? As the name suggests solar lights use the light from the sun to generate power which is then used to power the solar lights in the dark. This is very energy efficient as sunlight is a natural and renewable source of energy.

In addition to this by using solar powered lights you are also cutting down the cost of your electricity bill by utilizing solar lights as opposed to lights powered by electricity. Although some solar lights can also utilize battery power in addition to solar energy, they are still much more cost effective in comparison to using electricity powered lights.

Solar energy frame on brick wall makes electric energy.

The use of solar lights is efficient as well due to the fact that they do not require powering on or time adjustment. They turn on by themselves once they sense that it is dark enough outside. This means that they save you the trouble of remembering to turn them on. Also, they will automatically adjust to the time of year and turn on earlier or later as required.

Sometimes the solar lights can run into some problems, let’s look at some common issues which can cause the light to not function.

Why Aren’t the Lights Working?

So, you just bought some new solar lights and are excited to put them to use. You set them up and wait for them to turn on at night. But they aren’t working. The following are some reasons which can cause the solar lights to not work.

The ON/OFF switch

front device panel with detailed red power switch button

Often times when a new set of solar lights is purchased a common reason for them to not work is that they have not been turned on. Generally, there is a small switch that is located at the back which needs to be powered on.

The pull tab for batteries

Another common issue that can occur when you purchase new solar lights is that you forget to pull the tab which is located near the batteries and is often used to preserve the battery power until the product is purchased.

Check for sensor function

The solar lights function based on a sensor which means that they do not work during the daytime. In order to see if the lights are working you need to stimulate darkness. The sensor is located on the light and it senses for darkness, in order to turn on the light.

Ensure that the solar panel is clean and functional

a solar-powered garden lamp

After you have installed the solar lights in your garden or lawn, they may stop working or provide reduced lighting. This can occur especially if the lights have been out for quite a while. The lights can gather dust and debris on their solar panels which can cause obstruction to the sunlight and prevent them from working. Similarly, the solar panel can be damaged which can also prevent the light lights from working. So, make sure to clean your solar lights.

The solar light is not receiving direct sunlight

Due to the fact that solar lights work based on the light they receive from the sun it is immensely important that they receive a plentiful amount and are in a position where the sun light reaches them without any obstruction.

This means any shade or coverings that can cause the solar light to not get enough sunlight will result in the solar light not working or will cause a very dime light.

Rechargeable batteries

Rechargeable Battery pack.

Solar lights usually come with rechargeable batteries installed in them and although they may work well, after a few years of use the battery life might be nearing its end. This can cause the lights to not work effectively or stop working entirely.

Battery charge

When you purchase new solar lights, they might not be functioning to their full capacity or may not function at all due to a lack of charging of the batteries. Often the charge of batteries is drained in the time leading up to the purchase of the solar lights.

There are some of the most common issues that may be resulting in your solar lights not working. Now let’s look at some solutions for what to do and figure out how to repair solar lights to get them working again.

Solutions: How to Fix Solar Lights

The ON/OFF switch

Turn on, representing with hand pushing on button on for bright light bulb.

There is an easy fix for this issue, you simply must turn on the switch for the lights. The switch is most commonly located at the back or side of the light. If the switch is turned on but the lights are not working, there maybe another issue causing the problem. If it’s stuck, it may also cause your light to blink on and off.

The pull tab for batteries

A pull tab is often used to preserve the life of the batteries, you simply need to pull the tab out in order for the batteries to make contact with the light and start working. If you do not see a tab, make sure to open the battery encasement to check it has slipped inside broken into it.

Check for sensor function

different types of sensors

Solar lights work in the dark, so in order to check if the sensor is working you need to test them at night or stimulate darkness by covering the sensor with something such as your hand. If the lights do not work when you place them in the dark or cover the sensor then there may be an issue with the sensor. You can either replace the sensor or even a broken wire in that case, or you may be able to claim it under warranty for a replacement. This is a common dysfunction in string lights.

Ensure the solar panel is clean

Sometimes the solar lights can gather a lot of dirt or debris from being outside, this can hinder the sunlight from reaching the solar panel and prevent the light from working. Make sure to clean the solar panels from time to time as well as ensure to put them away in a safe place when they are not in use for instance during winters.

The solar light is not receiving direct sunlight

If you’ve asked yourself ‘why do my solar lights come on during the day’ then the issue might be inaccurate sunlight. The solar panel might not receive enough sunlight if there is something in the way and can result in not enough power or dim/flashing lights during the day. Ensure that any shrubbery or plantation is not in the way or causing a shadow to fall over the solar panel of the light. In addition to this ensure that other objects are also not causing a shadow that covers the light for instance even your house can cast a shadow over the light. So, place the light where maximum sunlight will reach it.

Rechargeable batteries

Sometimes through the years of use the rechargeable batteries used by the solar lights stop working or work poorly. If you notice that the lights are not working as brightly as they used to, it might be time to change the batteries.

Battery charge

Often when you purchase a new product, it comes with batteries already installed however those batteries often lose their charge in the time that it takes for the product to be purchased. So, if your solar lights are not working after you have purchased them, it is a good idea to charge them for one full day prior to using them.


Small Solar Garden Light, Lanterns In Flower Bed. Garden Design. Solar Powered Lamp

Solar lights are a great way to be energy efficient as well as light up your garden or lawn. However, there can be many reasons that can cause them to not function. In order to ensure that they work as they are meant to, there are some key things to keep in mind such as cleaning the solar panels and making sure the batteries are charged. Hopefully, this article was able to help shed some light on why your solar lights might not be working.