The popularity of solar lights has been increasing many folds as more people have got to know about the environmental and financial advantages of solar energy.
A common concern among solar light users is the proper charging of the lights. A question that is frequently asked is should solar lights be switched on to charge. The answer is both Yes and No. Confused? Let me explain in detail how this process works.
How does a Solar Light Work?
According to the US Energy Information Administration, the use of solar-powered lights has increased by almost 40% since 2016. So let us find out how these marvelous devices actually work.
The photovoltaic panels on a solar light or solar panel collect and transform the thermal energy from the sun to electricity and stores them in the photovoltaic cells or battery. This process takes place during the daytime in the presence of plenty of sunlight.
During the evening an intelligent controller turns on the solar lights using the energy stored in the battery or cells. This is a simple way to describe how your basic solar-powered lights work.
Solar lights are most commonly used to provide outdoor lighting in backyards, porches, and gardens. They are also effectively used as streetlights.
Should solar lights be switched on to charge?
Essentially you do not need to turn on and off your solar lights continuously for the charging process. They are automatic devices that use their sensors to turn on and initiate charging at dawn while they also turn off the charging at dusk and switch on the LED lights.
Most solar-powered lights can charge while they are switched off. Actually, by turning those off you will allow your battery to charge fully in about 72 hours in bright sunlight. This process is called deep charging. Manufacturers recommend doing this once or twice a month for optimized battery health.
If you have bought a new solar device, it is recommended that you fully charge it for about 8 hours in direct sunlight before initial use.
Did you know solar lights can successfully charge on cloudy days as well? Read our article Do Solar Lights Charge on Cloudy days? to know more.
Tips to Optimize your Solar Light Usage
Solar lights are favorable for usage in backyards and gardens as they do not need to be wired into your main electric line. They enhance the beauty of your porches and garden with delightful lighting but are quite easy to maintain and very eco-friendly.
Here are some tips you can follow to get the best out of your Solar Light:
- Positioning your light at the appropriate location: It is very important to determine a place where your solar light will be exposed to maximum sunlight. Avoid placing them in shades or under trees.
- The angle of your light: The tilt of your solar light should be adjusted at an angle so that it can receive the greatest sunrays.
- Charge before usage: To optimize your solar light battery health manufacturers generally recommend charging your new solar light for at least 8 hours before first use.
- Clean the light Panels: We know the power of solar light depends on how much it absorbs sunlight. However light absorption may be hindered by dirt and debris on the panels. So these solar panels should be cleaned regularly. The best way to clean them is with a microfiber cloth or with a sponge and water. Steer clear of using soap as it may leave the panels with streaks.
- Monitor and Change batteries: Like any other batteries, these solar panel batteries become old and faulty. You should keep an eye on them and try to replace them with new batteries at regular intervals. This will help your solar light to last longer.
- Swap out old bulbs: Every few months try to change out the old or fused bulbs from your solar lights. It might be a good idea to stock up on the bulbs to avoid making a trip to the store every time.
- Solar light indoor storage: For all intents and purposes you can keep your solar light outside during all kinds of weather. But in case you want to store them inside, place them in a cool dry place where they can receive some sunlight or artificial light every day. Storing in a dark place will damage the batteries.
Read More: Why Do Solar Panels Need To Face South?
If you are looking for convenient and low-maintenance lighting for your outdoors, solar-powered light is your best option. They are automatic devices that will really make life easier for you. You will seldom need to worry about charging them or turning them on and off.
1. How are solar lights charged?
Answer: Solar lights are equipped with rechargeable batteries which are charged during the daytime using solar panels. The charging stops at night and LED lights switch on.
2. How long does it take for solar light to charge?
Answer: Typically a solar light takes about 6 to 8 hours to fully charge in direct sunlight. However, this timing may change depending on the size and capacity of your light.
3. Do solar lights charge on a cloudy day?
Answer: YES they surprisingly do charge quite effectively on cloudy days. Read more about how solar lights charge on cloudy days in our article.