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Tips to ensure best performance from outdoor solar lights

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If you have already installed solar lights in your home or garden you must be wondering how to ensure best performance from these. Usually, solar lights require minimal maintenance and have a long lifespan. A little bitof knowledge about the basic structure and functioning of outdoor solar lights would help you get the best performance from these environment friendly products.

Basically solar lights have 4 components, to capture and convert sunlight into solar power.

  • Solar panel which captures and converts sunshine into electricity
  • Rechargeable battery that stores solar power
  • Charge controller which protects batteries from getting overcharged
  • LED that provides luminescence
Due to minimal components and no complex wiring involved users rarely face issues of solar lights not working properly. Also, once charged fully for a whole day these lights usually illuminate outdoor area from dusk to dawn for 2-3 nights.However if your solar lights are not working as desired or giving less light than expected you should check the following:

Check the Battery: Usually rechargeable batteries are the culprit for the poor performance of any type of solar lights. These batteries self-discharge and over a period of time reach the threshold beyond which they are unable to function. It is imperative to charge the batteries every 2-3 months to get best performance. Also, all outdoor solar lights come with manufacturer’s instructions for battery replacement. To get best performance batteries should be replaced when they have run their lifespan. To ensure that the battery is faulty you can do a test by replacing these batteries with ordinary batteries. If the light works well enough with regular batteries, it’s high time to replace the faulty rechargeable batteries.

Check Solar Panel: Solar panel is the main component of all outdoor solar lights. Outdoor lights usually gather dust faster than indoor lights.Dirt and dust work as a screen over the solar panel and blocks sun’s rays.When the panels do not capture sunlight efficiently the batteries fail to get fully charged. This also results in poor performance of these lights. Hence, users should take care that the solar panel is cleaned periodically and has no dirt layer accumulation over it.

Check Location: If you are facing issues of poor performance with your solar garden lights you should take care to check the location and positioning of the lights. Solar panels need 4-5 hours of direct sunlight to generate sufficient power for the functioning of these lights. If there is any kind of shade falling on the solar panels from adjacent plant or trees ,it would be unable to capture sufficient sunlight. Run a check by changing the location of solar light and place it where it gets maximum sunshine. If the light begins to function properly due to change of place, you will know for sure that the location was the reason for poor performance.

Check how they are stored: One of the main reasons for the solar lights not working aftercertain period of time istheir improper storage. If you are going out or intend not to use the solar light for a long duration you should ensure it is stored in the proper way. Always remove the batteries when the lights are not being used for a prolonged period. This would ensure a longer lifespan for your batteries and better performance from your solar light.

If you know of any more tips that help with better performance of these lights and solar garden lights in particular, please share in comments below.


I am getting to get some of the taller plants in our garden pruned. After reading your article I realized the solar lights placed close to the pathway have shade falling from these plants.

By: Ajay Navrang
Feb 11, 2016   Reply

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Off late I was noticing that my garden solar lights are not giving enough luminescence. Thanks for the post I am going to check all points mentioned by you.

By: Simmy Bansal
Feb 01, 2016   Reply

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