How to Fix Solar Lights

Written by John Ho on November 27, 2020
How to Fix Solar Lights

Nowadays, people prefer to use solar outdoor lights instead of standard outdoor lights running on electricity. The reason is that solar lights do not require any connection to the house electricity meter, as they run on the solar energy stored in the battery. Solar energy is the most requesting fuel because it is available in abundance free of cost everywhere on the earth. This feature makes these solar lights a wireless solution for your garden or open space. You can install anywhere in the house where direct sunlight is available to charge the battery via the solar panel integrated into it. As they are a wireless solution, they also save your extra expense of electrical wiring from all over your garden to the home electrical distribution panel.

Many companies are boasting of selling their solar lights with the claim that they are maintenance-free solar lights. But the reality is the opposite; they do need some care to remain on track and give you the full efficiency as expected from them. For example, their solar panel covers become dirty due to rain or dust, reducing the solar light's efficiency and backup time.

You may get your solar light non-operational when you wake up in the night and go to your garden or backyard where they are installed. To help you repair, I compiled these tips to repair solar light on your own without getting any help from an expert.

Main Parts of the Solar Light

Before I go into more details, I want to let you know some basic knowledge about the main parts of solar light and their functions.

Solar Panel

A Solar panel is the main component where sunlight is converted into electricity to charge the battery embedded inside the solar light body. The solar panel is integrated on the top of solar light with a glass or transparent plastic sheet to protect it from dust and water. Even that, dust or water may go inside the solar light from a hole, seam, or joint. Water may rust the electrical connection of the solar cells or make the glass foggy, decreasing the efficiency of the solar light.

LED Lights

Modern solar lights have LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) that require ten times less energy to produce the same amount of light as the standard incandescent bulb. A glass or plastic lens protects the LED portion of solar light from the outer environment. If water goes inside, it may short circuit an LED and damage it, making it useless for you.


Solar lights have a battery embedded inside, making them a wireless solution for your outdoor space, garden, or driveway. Solar panels charge the battery during the day from the sunlight to give you a perfect light source at night. A good battery of a solar light should last for at least two to three years as they expire due to continuous charging and discharging cycles. Almost all solar lights are waterproof and do not allow the water to enter inside, but it may enter due to some breakage of the body or any other reason. Water may also damage the battery, making it useless for you. In that case, you have to replace the battery with a new one.

Reasons Behind Solar Light Malfunction and Solution

Realizing how to fix your sun oriented light at home will spare your time, energy, and expenses. I will examine a portion of the various issues that might be influencing your solar lights and how you can rapidly get your solar light back to work.

Solar Light is not Getting Enough Sunlight

The most significant parameter that influences solar light usefulness is the solar light's location in the yard. A solar light that does not get enough immediate daylight would have less energy to charge the battery and light up your outdoor area as the sun goes down.

Solar lights may not get enough sunlight during cloudy days or the rainy season. Due to this reason, they may not provide you bright light for the whole night. In any case, that doesn't imply that solar lights can't get overpowered with a strong measure of precipitation and end up not working.

In the winter season, days become shorter in many countries. It also affects the amount of sunlight a solar light can get throughout the day. It results in a decrease in output during the night because the solar panels do not get a chance to charge the battery.

Dirty Solar Panels May Reduce the Output

As solar panels have a protective glass or plastic plate to protect from the environment and water, they become dirty after rain or dust. It may reduce the solar panel output, resulting in low battery charging to withstand the whole night's LED load. I will advise you to keep cleaning the solar panels once a week or after rain.

Make Sure There is No Water Inside

Since many sun-based lights are set outside in an individual's patio, they are weather-resistant to withstand downpour and water. Due to some damage to the body, water may go inside, damaging the vital parts of the solar light.

To observe the battery, you will need to open the light fitting of the solar light. You will need some tools like screwdrivers to open the different parts of the solar light.

  • Unscrew all the screws of solar light, and take apart the parts.
  • Observe for any water inside the solar light fitting.
  • Observe for any rusty components inside. Corrosion is also one of the significant issues for the battery contacts and controlling circuit. You can remove rust from the battery terminals using a soft brush or sandpaper.
  • Check for any bitten wires. Wild insects may chew away the wirings if they get a chance to enter inside the battery cover.
  • Dry the solar light if there was some water inside.
  • Reassemble the solar light again to be ready to use in the garden.

Make Sure the Switch is Turned ON

Almost all solar lights have a button to turn on the solar light. You do not need to turn it on and off every day. When you keep out the solar light from the box after buying it and have the intention to install it in the garden, you have to turn the button on. When you turn on the button, the light will not come out until you place your hand on the light sensor. It will detect the darkness and turn on the solar light.

Dirty or Faulty Light Sensor

Many solar lights have a feature to turn off the solar light during the day by themselves. They have a light sensor to detect the darkness or the ambient light and turn on or off the solar light. It helps in conserving the battery power to give you a good backup at night. If mud or dust comes in front of the light sensor, or the faulty sensor, it will keep the solar light on for both day and night. It will result in no energy stored in the battery for use during the night.

To check the light sensor, you will need to take the solar light into a dark room. If the battery is charged, the solar light should turn on after exposure to the dark. If you do not see any output, I will suggest you check the solar light battery voltages. If it shows less than the rated voltage, either the battery charging is low or the battery has expired.

Batteries May Become Dead

I have observed many outdoor solar lights and found out that most of them have NiMH batteries. These batteries may last for two to three years. The quality of batteries is not so good in many cheap solar lights. They may malfunction or expire even before their typical expiry period.

Some cheaper solar light manufacturers use small capacity batteries to compromise on the price of the battery. In return, these solar lights do not last for the whole night. They may give you a backup for half a night, and in worst cases,  they may turn down after one or two hours only. You have to replace it with a new battery having an adequate battery capacity.


Many solar light suppliers and manufacturers offer free replacement or repair during the warranty period. If you find your solar light not working, you should first consult the seller before opening the solar lights or doing any repair.

Small repairs do not need any expertise, no complex tools, and take minimal time to perform. Due to this reason, you can do repairs at your house, without any help from an expert.

Many people prefer to repair solar lights during the rainy days, as they are already not expected to provide you the bright light due to the rain.

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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