Why Do Solar Lights Stop Working?

Tim Hamlin
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The batteries are dead

It is likely that your solar light only works at night after a full day of charging in the sun. While you can leave the solar panel in direct sunlight during the day, the batteries should be charged on the side. Doing so will slow the power disbursement at night or in the shade. Leaving the solar panel in the sun longer than is necessary will harm the batteries.

Q: What can I do to adjust the charge?

Selectively charge one or two of the batteries each day by attaching the solar panel to the battery only during in the mornings. Overcharging will ruin the battery, so choose to charge one battery at a time or three at a time. Alternately, you may find it convenient to open your solar battery panel during the day to charge all the batteries for a period of time at once, after which, turning off the lights during the day, then charging each battery individually at night.

If your solar light remains on after charging, remove the batteries and change them with new batteries. Use the old batteries to determine if the problem was the batteries or the solar panel. If the light still does not work, the problem is likely the solar panel itself.

They are placed in the wrong area

Whether they are motion-sensor lights or just simple garden lights, solar lights need sunlight to operate properly. They won’t work if they’re in the shade or another area that does not receive a lot of sunlight during the day. This is why you should only place them where the solar panels face the sun.

Make sure they are not in a shaded area surrounded by tall plants. Too much shade will prevent the solar lights from working and your money will be wasted.

The solar panels are dirty

First clean the solar panels without using any chemicals, when you do this it will remove any dead bugs or leaves that are on the solar panels. Doing this will help the panels produce the energy that they need to charge the batteries.

You can clean the solar panels with using a soft brush. When you are done cleaning the solar panels, wipe them down with clean water that is not to hot.

The Batteries Are Dead

The solar light will only work when the batteries are charged, if you have just put the solar lights out and the lights are not on this is because the solar lights require charging which can take a few days.

The Solar Panel Is Not Getting Direct Sunlight

The suns natural light is the only source of energy to the solar panel so if the panel is not getting direct sunlight then the panel will not turn into energy.

The solar panel has something blocking the rays from the sun and the panel is not getting what it needs to charge, so the panel will not charge the batteries.

The Fuse Has Blown or the Light Has Been Turned Off

Check the switch to see if it has been turned off. Switch on the lights and see if it works. If it still does not work, the fuse might have blown. Replace the fuses as it may have blown when you turned the light off.

There is something wrong with the solar panels

The solar panel is made up of individual cells that receive the light from the sun. If the solar panel is dirty or covered with dust, dirt, or leaves, they won’t be able to absorb the light from the sun, so the lights will not work.

If the panels have loose or broken connections, you may have to solder them back together. If the connections are loose, the light will not be able to get from the solar panel, to the battery, to the light.

If your lights are brand new, make sure that the batteries are connected and have power.

Try cleaning the solar panels, or if they don’t work even after cleaning them, it’s possible they’ve been broken during shipping.

There is simply not enough sun in the past couple of days

For the solar light to last long.

The solar lights work by receiving energy from the sun. If there is not enough sunlight in the day, the solar light will not have enough energy to last very long in the evening, if at all.

Another possibility is that the solar light has been exposed to too much sunlight over an extended period of time. This can cause the solar light to degrade and stop producing energy as well. If you see that your solar light has stopped functioning, check to ensure that the batteries have not been exposed to direct sunlight. Also, determine if there is water or debris on the solar panel.

If you determine that the solar light is actually in good condition and is getting good sunlight, the next thing to inspect would be the solar unit itself. Make sure that it is positioned in a good location to receive the maximum amount of sunlight during the day. You can also turn the solar light around 180˚ to see if this helps the solar light get a better charge from the sun.

How to Fix Solar Lights That Don’t Turn On

Solar lights stop working for a variety of reasons. It would be nice if they lasted for a lifetime, but this is not realistic or practical.

The sun’s ultraviolet rays are one of the most damaging factors of solar lights. Every day the solar light is hit by these rays and a certain amount of its energy is depleted. Another common culprit for breaking solar lights is after someone neglects to rinse and dry their solar light after use. A layer of dirt and grime can accumulate over time, and eventually the lights will fail.

When your solar light is not working properly, there are a few solutions to try. Some solar lights can be taken apart, and the wires and the light can be cleaned or replaced. Testing to see if the circuit is not broken, is another option. You can take out the solar light, take it apart, and test to see if the circuitry is not responding to the battery. When taking a solar light apart, make sure you use proper caution. Solar lights should never be exposed to water, and you should never submerge the solar panel in water.

In most situations, the solar panel needs to dry out. If you have recently rinsed the solar light or sprayed it with a hose, you should throw it away and buy a new one.


Thanks for reading this article on solar lights. You will be amazed at what a huge role the sun has played in our lives! As a reminder, I would be glad to answer any questions you might have about solar lights. If you want to know why solar lights stop working, don't hesitate to get in touch! My contact information is on the "About" page.