Charge Solar Lights without Sun

Written by John Ho on October 29, 2020
Charge Solar Lights without Sun

It is incredible to realize how we human beings have advanced to the point that we can now literally harness energy from the sun. In doing so, we not only generate cheap energy for our necessities but also benefit the environment.

But there is a catch when you solely rely on the sun upon running your home's necessary appliances such as solar lights etc. What if the sun does not come out for a whole day, or a week, or even a month at a stretch? Are you wholly screwed if a situation similar to this one happens? Well, the possibility of the sun not coming out for a week is not that slim, especially in areas where the winter season comes in full glory. However, the good news is that the sun not coming out for an extended period does not mean the end of the world for your solar-powered appliances like solar lights, and there are ways through which you can overcome this problem.

If you continue reading this article, you will find all the remedies you can charge solar lights without the sun.

How do solar lights work?

First, it is essential for you to know the working process of solar lights.

I will only be sharing a simple overview of solar lights' working mechanism, so you don't have to be a solar energy expert to understand it.

You should know that there is always a solar panel with a solar light that powers the light. The way that a solar panel works is that it intakes light rays from the sun and then converts those light rays into electrical energy.

Once the solar panel generates electricity, it transfers it to the battery. From there, the battery provides the juice to the solar lights that power them. So, it is actually the solar panel that gets charged and not the solar light itself.

Now, think for a moment if we remove the sun from the equation. The whole process becomes a lot more complicated but charging solar lights without the sun is still definitely doable.

The best way of charging solar lights

You can improve the charging speed of your solar lights by doing this little tweak during the charging process.

If you own an old solar light, and it does not have an on and off switch, then, unfortunately, you can not follow this tweak. But, if you own a modern solar light that has an on and off switch present on it on the outer end of the body, then you should try doing it whenever possible.

The little tweak you should do is that when the solar light is charging and is not in use, in that case, you should switch off the light for optimal charging performance.

How to charge solar lights in a shadowy area

Are your solar lights positioned under a tree or building or any other area which blocks sunlight from reaching the solar panel of the solar lights? Because if you have solar lights positioned in a similar way and are frustrated for their slow charging, then you are not alone. This is a pretty common problem, and today I am going to teach you how you can do some reverse engineering and fix this terrible charging problem.

Face the solar panel towards the sun

One of the ways you can use to charge the solar lights at a faster rate in a shadowy area is by facing the solar panel of the solar lights towards the sun - in the South. Keep moving the solar panel throughout the day according to the position of the sun to take maximum advantage of this trick.

Note: face the solar panel in the direction the sun is in the morning at the end of the day to avoid missing any charge.

Place a mirror

In an area where you can not directly face the solar panel in the direction of the sun, it is best to use a mirror to reflect the light of the sun on the solar panel. One might think that this technique might not work, but trust me, it does.

The size of the mirror should, however, be double the size of the solar panel you are charging. And remember to keep moving the mirror according to the direction of the sun throughout the day.

How you can charge solar lights without sun

From this point of this article, I am going to discuss all the methods that you can use to charge your solar even when you don't have the sun at your disposal (no pun intended.) And will try to kill the stereotypical thought that solar-powered products are useless in the absence of sun.

Charge from the grid

The first and the easiest option that you should use to charge a solar light without the sun is this one. Many, if not all, solar lights come with a power outlet to charge from standard electricity in case of an emergency. You can simply go on and plug the solar light with the electricity that comes at your home, and you will be good to go.

The solar light will be charged at a consistent and considerably good speed without any hiccups.

If you have the option of using this method, then I would definitely recommend that you should. But, in a situation where your whole house is connected to an off-grid system, this method will be futile, and you will have to use the tricks given below.

Charge solar lights on a cloudy day

People have built a misconception in their minds that solar panels can only be charged on a good sunny day. In reality, that is not at all true. Solar panels can often be charged on a cloudy day, too, definitely not at the same pace as on a sunny day, but as they anything is better than nothing.

You might be scratching your head thinking, how is that even possible, and isn't 'solar' energy supposed to be generated by the sun? Well, you are totally right on that part. Solar energy is supposed to be generated by the sun. But, the fact is that on a cloudy day, although the sun is covered by the cloud. However, the light rays of the sun still make it to the ground even though there is a difference in intensity, but these light rays still carry the potential to charge your solar panel.

So, the next time you see a cloudy day, take your chances and try to charge the solar panel that runs the solar lights at your home.

Use an incandescent bulb or LED light

This might be a shocker to some people, but incandescent light bulbs and LED lights produce the same UV light rays that come out of the sun.

So it is possible to charge a solar light through an incandescent bulb or LED light because the receptors present in the solar panels are not intelligent enough to recognize whether the UV light rays are from the sun or an incandescent bulb or LED light.

Although the sun charges a solar light at two times the speed at which an incandescent bulb or LED charges a solar light, it does not mean that an incandescent bulb or an LED can not get the job done.

However, when you are charging a solar light by an unnatural source, you should know that the distance at which the solar light is kept from the charging source and the size of the bulb impact the speed of charging. So don't keep the bulb too far away from the solar light and use an incandescent bulb or LED light of 40 to 100 watts for charging for adequate results.



At this point, you must have definitely understood that you don't need a perfect sunny day to charge solar lights. By doing some minor tweaks and following the instructions given above, you can charge solar lights in unfavorable conditions too.

The instructions can, however, vary according to the situation that you are facing. Sometimes, all you have to do is plug the solar light in a socket, and if you are stuck in a much unfortunate situation, then you have to do the complicated work of moving the mirror around the solar panel in accordance with the direction of the sun.

However, no matter what situation you are in, solar lights can be charged without the sun.


Article written by John Ho
Our goal is to provide you with comprehensive and thorough solar-energy product guides, which will leave you confident that you have made the right purchase decision for your home.

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