Solar light’s popularity has increased among energy-cautious individuals. More people are installing solar lights in their homes and businesses because they are cost-effective and eco-friendly. Everyone knows solar lighting systems to be the safest form of energy.
Nothing lacks imperfections in one way or another. Regardless of its advantages, there are a few downsides to using solar lights.
So are solar lights dangerous? This article has discussed some of the hazards of using solar lights. Read on to find tips on how you can use solar lights safely.
Are solar lights dangerous?
Solar lights are the cleanest source of energy. Solar energy is harvested directly into the solar panels and used in our homes to illuminate spaces like the garden or the patio.
People are in love with solar lights because you can install solar lights in a space without any complications like applying for connection, buying expensive wiring equipment, and paying huge sums of money.
However safe solar lights might seem, it has their safety hazards. Some of the hazards we will discuss include;
- Causing fires
You may wonder how the safest form of energy can cause fire and electrocute someone. Here in this guide, we will give you why your solar lights might be starting fires and all the other hazards.
Also, remember there are several regulations when you are carrying a solar light in an airplane. You have to follow their safety rules in order to do that.
Do solar lights get Hot?
Solar lights battery power the bulbs with a small amount of energy for a long time. You will find a fully charged solar battery last the whole night without charging. Various solar light bulbs do not absorb enough energy to warm them.
On different occasions, you will find a bulb starts to release some heat. The heat produced is not as intense as that of electric bulbs. That heat may cause the bulb to be a little hot but not to the extent to cause a fire.
Do Solar Lights Catch Fire?
In the past years, solar light companies have been sued on separate occasions due to their solar lights causing a fire. But how can this happen when the source of power is sunlight energy?
- Cheap components of the battery.
The battery holds and stores energy generated from the sun.
When a battery is made of cheap components, the heat generated can cause the battery to overheat and melt, which usually causes fire.
To ensure that the solar lights are longer and you are protected from fire hazards, invest in expensive solar lights.
- Lithium-ion batteries
Most solar light companies are making their batteries using Lithium-ion components to recharge themselves. However, Lithium-ion is highly combustible, and if it overheats, it might catch fire.
NiCd and NiMH are the other two types of batteries. These batteries cannot hold power for a long time. They cannot, therefore, cause a fire.
Since Li-ion batteries can power light bulbs for the whole night, they are the best option. To reduce the risk of Li-ion catching fire, here are a few things you should do;
- Invest in good-quality solar lights, which come with high-quality components.
- Switch off solar lights when not in use.
- Regularly check the state of your batteries to see if there are some signs of melting and overheating.
Although Lithium-ion batteries are prone to fire, it is to a minimum extent.
Is it okay to Leave Solar Lights on All Night?
Leaving solar lights overnight does not pose any threat if you have the best solar lights brand. Solar lights have a sensor that detects the night or day and acts by switching the bulb on at night and off during the day.
We would advise you to leave the solar light on the whole night if;
- You are lighting up a large garden or patio.
- If your solar lights are enforced for security.
- During the sunny season, your battery will charge fully.
Leaving solar lights all night will not cause a fire. However, it reduces the life span of the battery. Manually switch the solar lights when you are not using them. In addition to safety, your battery will not drain faster.
Are Solar Lights Safe Indoors?
Solar light might have a few hazards here and there. But they are the most common, clean, and affordable.
The majority of people opt to light up their houses and business. The advantages of using solar lights over wear are the only pro of likely fire hazards.
So is it safe to use solar lights indoors?
Yes. Solar light bulbs produce enough heat to keep you warm but prevent fire outbreaks.
It would help if you did a few things to ensure your solar lights serve you well indoors.
- Make sure your solar lights are from a reputable brand. This will prevent possible fires.
- Cover all the naked wires with masking tape to prevent electrocution.
- Ensure the solar panel is clean and facing the sun’s direction.
A clean solar panel will harvest enough sunlight energy to last you longer.
- If you live in hot areas, your battery is among those which might explode. To prevent that, bury your solar lights battery deep into a huge hole. You will remove the battery for 4-10 years for a replacement.
- Take note of where you mount your solar panels and the battery. Since the solar panel is the one that collects sunlight energy from the sun, make sure you place it somewhere there is enough sunlight exposure. As for the battery, avoid placing it closer to a fireplace. This is because most batteries have acid in them. They have a high chance of exploding.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do solar lights work efficiently?
Depending on the type of solar lights you have, solar lights work perfectly. However, you will have to regularly maintain your solar light components like cleaning the solar panel for maximum sunlight energy absorption.
Cheap solar lights have low-quality components that are prone to catching fire and cannot last the whole night as they should.
Does rainwater destroy the solar panel?
Solar light fixtures have ingress protection known as IP65 that prevents water from seeping inside.
When buying a solar light system, make sure it has an IP rating of 5. If your solar lights don’t have this type of protection, water will seep in, destroying almost everything from wires, sensors, and panels.
What happens if a solar lamp falls inside a pool?
As said above, solar light fixtures have ingress protection. If the solar lights fall inside the pool, it might take time to allow water to seep in.
But what about electrocution if you are inside the pool? Solar lights produce a small amount of power, unlike electricity. If a connected lamp falls inside the pool, get out and switch off the solar lights entirely before removing the lamp from the water.
Can solar lights electrocute you?
Solar lights use less power to light the LED bulbs. The wires are insulated and made waterproof to avoid such instances.
Solar lights also power some appliances in the house. If you touch the appliances with wet hands, you will most likely get electrocuted.
Check if all the wires and appliances are in good condition and replace them with cracked or broken ones.
It is important to have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), which regulates the power that moves on the circuit. If the power can cause damage, the GFCI stops the circuit.
Solar lights are the cleanest form of energy. It is cheap to install and maintain. You will also receive a lifetime supply of power at no cost.
Like any other manufacturing item, there is some downside to using solar energy.
Solar lights are prone to catching fire. Most solar light manufacturers use cheap components to make up the battery. To avoid this, make sure you buy from reputable manufacturers.
Aside from fire, you can be electrocuted by solar lights if you don’t take proper care of your lights.
To enjoy many years of service, regular checkups and maintenance are essential.
Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as a Solar Electrical Engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.