Why Your Solar Lights Are Dim & How To Fix It

solar street lights

Solar lights are a sure way to reduce your electricity bill, whether they’re solar garden lights, patio spotlights, or streetlights. But what happens when those lights do not shine bright the way they used to? Thankfully, there are only a handful of causes for solar light to grow dim or go out, and in most cases, it’s not hard to make lights brighter.

To determine the problem, first, think about how solar lights work. The solar cell changes sunshine into electricity. A flow of charged particles makes its way to the battery and recharges. A sensor detects whether it’s dark outside and turns on the light when it is.

Dying Batteries

The first step is checking the batteries. Even though the recharging is done by the sun, batteries power solar lights while they’re shining. The most common reason for dimming solar lights is that the rechargeable batteries are dying. If the battery is low, it’s important to remove the battery right away. A defunct battery can erode, leak acid, and damage electrical components.

When you replace the battery, be sure to remove the pull tab on the new battery, or it will not work.

Lack of Sunlight

Most solar lights need about six hours of sunlight during the day to recharge. The exact amount of time depends on the intensity of the sun, the efficiency of the solar panel and the battery. If the unit does not get enough light, illumination will not last as long as it should when it gets dark. If you have trees, a building, or something else that prevents sunlight from reaching the solar cell for much of the day, you may have to move it. A solar lamp does not have to be in direct sunlight all day long, but it’s important to let light reach it during most of the daylight hours.

solar street lights

Dirty Panels

If there’s dust and debris on the panels, they simply can not absorb as much light as they should. If the buildup is too severe, the batteries may not change at all. Even a thin layer of dust, however, limits how much sunlight gets through to do the recharging.

A cleaned light panel means an effective light. You can use mild soapy water to remove dirt and make sure the solar panel is clean. Be sure to rinse well and squeeze off any remaining water.

Clouded Plastic

Some solar lights have a plastic housing or protector covering the solar cell. Over time exposure to outdoor conditions and UV damage from sunlight make it clouded, limiting the sunlight that reaches the cell and recharges the battery.

Sometimes this protector is replaceable. If it’s not, you may be able to remove a thin layer of this plastic with a fine-grit sandpaper. Wash the plastic before sanding. Keep the sandpaper and plastic wet while you’re sanding, then wash and dry the surface.

Olympia Solar Area Lights

Solar power lights are not just a novelty to light up sidewalks and gardens. They’re capable of doing serious work for businesses and municipalities as streetlights. They offer significant advantages over traditional street lamps. The old-style lights cost more to operate, generate more heat, have greater maintenance costs, and are more toxic.

As the world goes greener, solar LED light fixtures will continue to replace the old-fashioned variety. Olympia Lighting is leading the way in solar illumination. We’ve been producing these street lamps for a while, and recently we’ve improved them aesthetically. Solar lamps used to be bulky with large solar cells, but recent models are sleek and attractive. They’re programmable, have dusk-to-dawn sensors, and come in strengths up to 8,000 Lumens. 
Contact Olympia Lighting to learn what these premium quality fixtures can do for you.