Why Do Solar Lights Stop Working?

Do you have a couple of solar lights that went out and you wonder why do solar lights stop working?

There are some reasons why solar lights stop working, and the most common reason is that your solar lights are not getting enough direct sunlight, which means the batteries won’t get properly charged.

So, the first thing you need to strike out is the amount of sunlight the lamps are getting via the panels.

Solar lights are very resilient by design. They can withstand various weather conditions because they will often be put outside under the elements, and as such are sturdy.

However, now and then they stop working. If your solar lights stop working, you need to understand what happened to them, this will sway your decision whether you should repair or replace them; and if you are returning, it will help you avoid what caused the lamps to stop working in the first place.

Solar lights are very cost-effective and can help you bring down electricity bills, thereby saving you money.

They may be expensive to set up initially. Still, in the long run, it pays off due to the unlimited source of energy is the most significant advantage of using solar lights over conventional sources of light.

Top 7 Reasons Why Do Solar Lights Stop Working

solar led lights

Over the years, humans have begun to search and indeed move towards alternative sources of energy that are clean and sustainable and have low or no impact on the environment.

One of the sources of clean energy is the sun. The sun is essential to life here on earth, but we won’t go into the nitty-gritty of it.

Solar energy is harnessed by solar lamps and is fast becoming an alternative lighting system in homes, offices and buildings in general.

Even cars use solar energy nowadays, that’s crazy!

Solar lights have a relatively low cost of operation when compared to fuel lamps and do not pollute the environment.

Check out our in-depth article about why is solar energy good

Solar lights, also known as solar lamps or solar lanterns, are powered by solar energy from the sun. Solar lamps are an LED lamp with a solar-charged battery.

Most of the time, when solar lights stop working, it is due to the cells not getting enough charge.

They may be getting enough charge, but they are already weak and don’t hold the charge as much as they used to.

#1 Insufficient Sunlight

It is common knowledge that electricity is what powers lamps, and that is where solar panels come into play.

Solar panels are photovoltaic, which means they convert energy from the sun into electricity; this is especially good for the environment as it cuts the need for fuel to light up space.

Placing solar lamps in the shade or a covered area makes them not receive enough direct sunlight.

Solar lights won’t work in the darkness; they need to get a reasonable amount of light to charge the photovoltaic cells.

While solar lamps do not need direct sunlight to function, they may not be fully charged and be as effective as other lamps that get direct, or ample amount of the sun.

Solar lamps charged in the shade will often not be fully charged and will perform less than other solar lights that have been exposed more to the sun.

Simply put, the more direct sunlight the solar lamps get, the longer they will last as they would be more charged than those in the shade.

The optimum position for a solar lamp is in direct sunlight throughout the day.

It would be best if you got lights with remote solar panels. These remote panels will be installed at a strategic place like the roof and wired to the lamps, to get enough sunlight to charge the solar lights that may otherwise be in a shaded area.

The amount of time a lamp needs to spend in the light varies with the intensity of the sun, battery, type of solar panel, and weather condition.

Usually, eight hours of direct sunlight is enough to keep your lamp going for about 12 hours of continuous use.

As long as the sun exists, solar lights will continue to work, save for damage and wear and tear of the components.

#2 Dead Batteries

Dead batteries are a common reason why your solar lights stop working.

Did your solar lights suddenly stop working? A dead battery can be the culprit.

Solar lamps use rechargeable Nickle Metal Hydride batteries. These batteries are long-lasting, although there will be drops in performances as time goes by. Some solar lights make use of lithium-ion batteries too.

Batteries like al material are subject to the forces of wear and tear. When solar lights’ batteries get old or worn, they lose the ability to hold a significant amount of charge to power up the lamps until they fail altogether.

The outer casing of the batteries may also wear off, which causes acid to leak, which may damage the solar lights irreparably.

If the batteries are dead, you need to have them replaced.

#3 Dirty Solar Panels

As we mentioned earlier that a reason why solar lights stop working is not getting enough sunlight, so let us reiterate solar panels need to be provided with adequate sunlight to keep your solar lights on.

When dirt and dust settle on a solar panel, it creates a layer that prevents sunlight from getting to the panels, in essence, the panels are getting a little amount of sunlight, which may not be able to charge the batteries properly.

Sometimes the dust gets so thick that no sunlight reaches them, which leads to the batteries not being charged at all.

Debris may also fall and cover the panels, thereby preventing sun rays from reaching the panels.

Entirely blocked solar panels may give the illusion that the batteries are dead, so be sure to confirm that the panels are clean.

Check up on the panels regularly and clean them as needed to ensure that they supply the batteries with enough charge.

#4 Faulty Sensor For Solar Lights

Often, solar lamps work based on sensors; they turn on automatically at night and go off during the day.

Some solar lights are motion-triggered, which means they turn on when motion is detected. If the sensors are faulty, the lamps won’t turn on automatically and may need to be turned on manually by bypassing the sensors.

Alternatively, you may need to contact the manufacturer to repair the sensors.

To avoid this issue entirely, you may opt for solar lamps that come with on and off switch.

#5 Proximity to Light Sources

When a solar lamp is close to another light source that gives off significant levels of lightening the lamps may stop working.

The photovoltaic cells in solar lamps convert the energy from the sun into electricity, and can also utilise the rays of light from other artificial sources.

Photocells in solar lamps act as a switch to turn on the solar lamps when the sun is down and turn off when the sun shines again.

If there is a close light source, the photocells become tricked into “thinking” it is day time and turns off the lamp to charge.

Check where the solar panels are located, if they are close to a source of light, cover them at night to let the solar lamps come on at night.

If this fixes your problem, you should move your panel to another area where it will get enough direct sunlight during the day and no interference at night.

#6 Water Build-up

Solar lights can withstand different weather conditions. However, due to various reasons such as defects from the factory or misuse, precipitation may begin to build up inside the panels, which will lead to damage to the internal circuitry and wiring.

If you have precipitation inside your panel, contact the manufacture for replacement or fixing. You may be able to lay claim under warranty.

#7 Damaged Components

Solar lights can stop working if a component becomes damaged or faulty. Even though the lamps are sturdy, be careful in handling them to prevent damage.


Solar lights stop working due to a lot of reasons, some of which are caused by you. We have given you some of the most common reasons that may cause your solar lights to stop working and how to remedy them.

Solar lights require low maintenance. You don’t need or have to do a lot to ensure they work—just occasional cleaning them.

Ensure you keep the solar panels clean and free of dirt to make sure the solar lights are getting enough sunlight.

Since the panels are outside, rain may get inside and damage the circuitry, check it often to make sure water doesn’t get inside.

Follow the user and installation manual to keep abreast of everything you need to do, but there’s usually nothing to do in terms of maintenance.

Before you read this article, you had the question “why do solar lights stop working?” on your mind, and by now you should have an idea as to what caused the solar lights to stop working and what to do if that occurs.