Solar lights are a new trend these days. They remain switched off during the day and come on at night to provide pleasant, ambient lighting in your backyard, courtyard, or patio. Such lights help lower electric bills by providing off-grid solutions to outdoor lighting and help save the environment. However, like all electrical systems, solar lights are expensive. If your solar lights come on during the day, you might incur huge losses and end up with a problem you didn’t even have in the first place.
So, why do sometimes solar lights come on during the day? There are 5 main reasons why solar lights come on while the sun is shining— defective light sensors, insufficient daylight, dirty solar panels, faulty wires or damaged batteries, and water or moisture penetration.
We will look at each of these reasons in detail in the upcoming sections.
What are solar lights?
A solar light, also known as a solar lantern or solar lamp, is a lighting system that contains an LED lamp, a set of solar panels, a battery, a charge controller, a light sensor, and sometimes, an inverter.
The LED lamp in the light operates on the electricity provided by the battery that charges when the sunlight hits the solar panels’ photovoltaic cells.
Each solar light in your house may have its own solar panel system, or you can connect all the solar lights to a single solar panel. The resulting electricity would be the same, depending on the total panel size.
During day time, the solar lights are supposed to stay turned off because who needs outdoor lighting when the sun is shining bright? However, as soon as it starts to get dark, the solar lights’ sensors recognize the absence of sunlight, and the LED lamps light up automatically, using energy stored in the batteries.
Solar lights are a convenient, eco-friendly, and cost-effective way to light up your backyard, patio, balcony, or street at night. However, like all electrical appliances, they can also malfunction at times.
5 Reasons why solar lights come on during the day
Let us help you understand why your solar lights come on during the day when they’re only supposed to come on at night.
Defective light sensors
The sensor in your solar light may be faulty or damaged. Maybe you or your pet has knocked over the solar light several times, or perhaps, the lamp has taken a hit, causing damage to the sensor inside the solar light. Check your light to see if the sensor is broken or cracked.
Not enough sunlight
Solar lights need plenty of sunlight during the day to charge and store power inside the battery. The sensor inside a solar light also needs sunlight not only to turn on but also turn off when the sunsets.
Your solar lights might be coming on during the day because they are not receiving enough sunlight, causing the sensor to believe that it is night time, which means it is time for the LED lamp to start shining.
Dirty solar panels
A dirty solar panel with debris, tree leaves, or dust will prevent the sunlight from charging the battery, but most importantly, it will confuse the sensor inside the solar light that cannot tell whether it is nighttime or daytime. When dirt blocks the panels, the sensor assumes it’s night time, and the lamp starts shining.
Faulty wires or damaged batteries
Another reason why your solar lights come on during the day could be because of the fault in wires or damages caused to the solar storage battery.
Outdoor lights can have faulty wires as pests, such as squirrels, can chew them. If the company has manufactured the solar light poorly, faulty wires could be a production problem as well.
Damaged batteries can also cause your solar light to function during the day. The battery is supposed to ensure that your solar light switches off during the day. However, your lights may turn on because the performance of batteries may decline over time.
Did your area have a rain spell recently? Or did you clean your lights in the last few weeks? Water or moisture penetration can affect the ability of the light sensor to perform.
If the air is too humid, water can get inside your solar lights. Even though manufacturers build solar lights in a way that allows them to withstand all environmental conditions, water can seep inside gradually.
7 Easy ways to fix solar lights that come on during the day
If your solar lights come on during the day, here are 7 easy ways in which you can fix this problem:
Check the light sensor
The first thing you must do when your solar light turns on during the day is to turn it off and check the sensor. If you notice cracks on the sensor, the solution is apparent; you must replace it with a new one.
However, if you cannot see a visible fault in the sensor, still replace it with a new one and see if that works for you. Sometimes, a dirty sensor might be the problem.
Dissemble the solar light, take out the light sensor, clean it with a damp washcloth, dry it, and reassemble the light again to see if that does the trick.
Ensure there’s no water penetration
You must check your solar light for water damage or humidity. If you think water has penetrated inside and affected your sensor, disassemble the solar light and dry it off, especially the part with the light sensor.
Dry off all other accessories as well, reassemble the light, and take it to a dark room to see if it turns on. If it does, you’ll know water penetration and excess humidity were causing the problem.
Keep blinds/curtains open if placed indoors
If your solar lights are placed indoors or under a shade, they might not be getting an adequate amount of sunlight, causing the light sensor to believe that it is night time.
A solar light placed in the wrong space will end up turning on during the day, giving you less light at night time when you actually need it. Always keep your blinds or curtains open so the sunlight can come in contact with the light sensor and panels and charge the batteries for night time use.
Clean the solar panels
Sometimes, dirt and debris on the solar panels can impact the functioning of your solar light. Using a damp washcloth, thoroughly clean the solar panels.
Please do not use any soaps or chemicals as they can damage the PV cells. If the stains are stubborn and greasy, a solvent that cleans car headlights might do the trick for you. Once cleaned, dry the panels before reassembling and see if your solar lights work correctly.
Replace the batteries
If your sensor does not seem to be the problem, turn your attention to the batteries. A malfunctioning battery can be the reason why your solar lights come on during the day since it can mess with the functionality of the light.
Replace the battery with a new one and see if that solves the problem. If your solar light does not light up at all, your battery has most probably expired, and your solar light needs a new one.
Turn Off and recharge
If your solar lights come on during the day, they might be exhausted. You need to give your solar lights a break so they can recharge and gain back their energy to function appropriately.
If nothing else works, turn off your solar light and remove the battery. Please keep it in the dark, so it does not charge. After 72 hours, reassemble the solar light and see if it still comes on during the day or not.
Get in touch with the manufacturer
When all else fails, and you can’t figure out the problem, you can always call your manufacturer. It is possible that you might have ended up with a faulty piece.
If you have a warranty, the manufacturer might be able to replace your defective solar light with a new one. A manufacturer can also provide replacement parts like light sensors and batteries if they were causing the malfunction.
Scientists invented solar lights for the purpose of conserving energy. If your light is malfunctioning, you are just wasting precious energy, and you must solve this problem as soon as possible. The good news is that most ways to fix this problem do not require money!
We hope you now know what to do when your solar lights come on during the day. Leave a comment below if this article helped you fix your problem. Until next time!