Do Solar Lights Charge on Cloudy days?

Solar Lights Charge on Cloudy days

Solar lights are an incredible source of renewable energy. Using solar-powered devices can create a warm and inviting place in your backyard, garden, or pathways. They are energy efficient, will not add to your electric bill and all the while look good spreading the light.

Typically solar lights utilize the thermal energy from the sunlight to produce electricity. But do solar lights charge on cloudy days? The simple answer is YES solar lights do charge on cloudy days.

Keep on reading to find out more about how solar lights work and how they charge on cloudy days.

How does a Solar Light Work?

Solar Light Work

Solar lights are equipped with solar panels or photovoltaic cells which use the sun’s energy to generate electricity and store them in rechargeable batteries. It also has an intelligent controller which prevents the battery from overcharging.

The controller can sense when the sun sets and stops charging to turn on the LED lights. These light-emitting diodes or LED lights operate on an economical and controlled method that makes your lights last for a long time.

The batteries in the solar panel are charged every day even when there is no direct sunlight. And when it gets dark, the lights switch on automatically.

Solar lights are eco-friendly. These solar-powered lights can be used anywhere like streets, boardwalks, pathways, gardens, or backyards. They do not produce any toxic or harmful gas and since they do not need to be plugged into your electric cable, there will be no change in your electric bill.

Do Solar Lights Charge on Cloudy days?

This is one of the most common questions raised by people when they think about buying solar lights. As I have mentioned Solar lights can charge on cloudy days.

The recharging process actually depends on the light density. Since the mechanism of solar light is very sensitive to light luminosity, the charging process can occur at a sufficient but lower light density.

During cloudy days even though direct sunlight is diffused by clouds, solar radiance does reach the earth’s surface. And since solar-powered lights can absorb even small light rays, the charging process will take place quite resourcefully on a cloudy day as well.

One of the common misconceptions is that solar lights can only be used in places with lots of sunlight and warm weather. However, cities like Boston, Seattle, and Portland which are notoriously cloudy and gloomy are successfully using solar-powered street lights.

Is Charging Affected by Cloudy Days?

Charging Affected by Cloudy Days

On a cloudy day what generally happens is light density decreases by 30 to 50 percent due to the overhead clouds and shadows. Now one might think that charging is affected here but surprisingly that is not the case.

On a bright and sunny day when the temperature is high, the solar panels also get heated by direct sunlight which decreases the charging efficiency. Alternatively, the lower temperature of a cloudy day creates suitable conditions for charging.

Clever Hacks to Charge Solar Lights without Sunlight

Charge Solar Lights without Sunlight

1. Utilize minimal light on cloudy/cold days

It might seem pointless, but as mentioned the receptors in the solar panels can utilize minimum lights to generate and store electrical energy.

The cold temperature causes low electron movement so the voltage difference will be high, and the solar light will actually produce more energy.

2. Incandescent light

If you have emergency equipment like a solar watch or flashlight you need to charge but there is no sunlight, you can use artificial light from incandescent bulbs to do the job.

These bulbs can charge your device just like sunlight, but the time taken to fully charge is a couple of hours more.

3. LED Light

If you don’t have an incandescent bulb at your home, don’t worry an LED light source may just be a better alternative. The broad light spectrum of LED lights is quite capable of charging solar-powered objects.

4. Power Source

Some solar lights are provided with a USB charging method. So if this is what you find convenient, feel free to plug in or use power banks to charge your solar-powered objects on those cloudy days.

How to ensure effective charging of your solar light

charging of your solar light

1. Clean the panels

Dirt, dust, or snow can cover the panels and hinder the light absorption process. So panels should be cleaned regularly using microfiber clothes to ensure proper charging.

2. Face the panels toward the light

During winter and rainy seasons there is less sunlight. So the solar lights should be placed at an angle that can capture maximum sunlight. Avoid placing solar-powered lights in shadows or under trees.

3. Deep Charge your battery

Once or twice a month you can switch off your solar lights and leave them charging continuously for 72 hours. This will keep your battery healthy and efficient.

4. Use Mirrors

You can set up mirrors around the solar panels to reflect more light on them. This might not be the easiest way but it will definitely help the charging process. The mirrors should be double the size of the panels and placed in a way that directs light to the panel.



Hope this article can help you understand a bit more about solar lights. Using solar-powered lights is eco-friendly and quite easier than you might think. And you do not have to worry since Solar Lights can charge on cold, gloomy, or cloudy weather days.

Key Takeaways

  • Solar lights do charge effectively on cloudy days
  • The charging of solar light is possible with minimum light density.
  • There are alternate methods of charging solar lights.

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