If you bought a solar lighting system, you probably want to cut the cost of electricity bills. But what if your solar lights don’t serve you for long? What things should you do for your solar lights to last longer?
How can I make my solar lights last longer?
There are many ways you can make your solar lights serve you longer. Proper sanitization and regular checks are ways you can use to make sure your solar lights last longer.
Reasons why my solar light does not last long
Although solar lights are not that technical, they are prone to stop working the way they are required.
Below are some common reasons why your solar lights are not working correctly. Follow this guide to understand some of the common defects of a solar lighting system.
The solar panel is dirty.
If you live in dusty areas or places with many trees, your solar panel might be covered by dust or debris.
The dust on the solar panel compromises the charging of the solar light battery. When the battery gets drained for a long, its life reduce.
The solar panel is blocked
The solar panel is responsible for charging the batteries. When you install your solar panel where it is blocked from sunlight exposure, the battery will drain.
Same as the first case, when the battery dies, so does the whole solar lighting system.
If the wires of your solar lights are buried on the ground or inside the flower bed, there are chances that rodents might damage your wires.
Broken wires mean the flow of the circuit from the battery to the lamps is interfered with, therefore no lights.
A faulty sensor
Are your solar lights on during the day and night? Then most likely, your sensor is not working.
Solar lights work with a sensor installed in the solar panel. A sensor detects darkness during the night and automatically lights the lamps. It also detects sunlight and automatically switches off the lights during the day.
If the lights don’t go off when the battery is supposed to be charging, the batteries drain.
The sensor can be faulty if;
The coating that is supposed to be protecting the sensor is defective.
Shadows block a solar panel. Therefore, the sensor detects darkness throughout.
When the solar panel is covered by dust, the sensor becomes opaque
When you live in a city with street lights, your solar sensor night detects light and automatically refuses to switch on the lights.
Do you know that solar lights have a unique method of connection?
You might connect your solar lights in a way that drains your battery. The wrong connection might also cause the lamps to get dim.
Cheap solar lights
Solar lights equipment is supposed to be affordable, not cheap. Unfortunately, when you buy cheap solar lights, they will spoil faster.
Some brands make solar light components with cheap materials. Unfortunately, the wires break easily for those cheap solar lights, the batteries drain quickly, and solar light absorbs less solar energy.
Also, cheap LED components tend to generate heat and then degrade the whole product fast.
Number of lamps
Although solar lighting systems are not that strong, the number of bulbs using a single battery will drain it dry.
If you have a large garden, you should consider adding a more robust solar panel and a more substantial battery.
How Long Should Solar Lights Last?
Your solar lights might be defective, and you have no idea.
Most brands make solar lights that last up to 10years. The battery of solar light in good shape should last approximately 4years without changing. Only the rechargeable batteries found in the battery components are charged regularly.
So if your solar lights start giving you difficulties when they are a few months old or a year in service, one of the components of the solar lighting system is defective, and you should be replaced.
Knowing what issues interfere with your solar lights can help you manage the damage before it escalates.
Below we will give you tips you can use to add the survival life of your solar lights.
How do you extend the life of solar light?
Clean the solar panel often.
A blocked solar panel blocks the sun from charging the batteries. Ensure you clean the solar panel and sanitize it twice per year.
If you live in a dusty region, you will be required to clean more than twice per year.
Place the solar panel in an exposed space.
Make sure no shadows are blocking the sunlight from reaching the surface of the solar panel.
The solar panel affects how well the battery works.
Once you have placed the solar panel on the sunlight path, switch off the solar lights for a few days until the battery is recharged.
Cover your wires with PVC pipes
Do you want your solar lights to last longer? Then you must be willing to incur some extra cost. Pass your solar wires in a strong PVC pipe before burying them.
A protective pipe will reduce the chances of rodents damaging the solar light wires. Covered wires are also appealing.
Regularly Check on Your Solar Lights sensor.
Check if the coating is intact. If it is damaged, cover the sensor with transparent plastic.
Ensure the panel is clean and the sensor exposed.
Research on how to connect the solar lighting system.
A solar lighting system comes with a user manual. This will guide you on where to connect the wires.
You can find some informative internet videos showing you how to connect the solar lights.
Invest in a quality solar lighting system.
If you want to enjoy your free solar energy for a long, invest in advanced solar lights.
Some solar lights brands have a one-year warranty if your solar lights are not working as required.
Why do solar lights stop working so quickly?
If you don’t follow all the steps discussed above, your solar lights won’t be working perfectly for long.
Sometimes the fault might be in manufacturing. For example, if you get defective solar lights, they will stop working quickly.
There are other times your environment might be affecting the solar lights. For example, if you live in cold regions, the battery will not charge well.
Cold weather can also interfere with the sensor.
If these things happen and your solar light permanently breaks, you can always try recycling solar lights for further use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does living solar lights on at night reduce the solar life?
No. So long as the battery is charging during the day, lights on all night cannot affect your solar lights.
Can cold weather affect my solar lights?
When moisture penetrates the solar panel, it can affect the sensor. To avoid this issue, please cover the summit during winter.
In winter, there is less sunlight; therefore, the battery does not charge properly.
Is solar panel expensive?
No. If you are interested in buying solar lights, make sure the brand you choose produces quality solar equipment.
How long do solar lights last?
Depending on the brand, solar lights can last up to ten years. You also don’t need a battery change for four years.
So if your solar lights start acting up before their time is up, there might be a problem with the solar lights component.
Solar light energy is free and environmentally friendly.
However, neglecting them once installed might reduce their life.
The guide above will help you identify the most common reasons your solar lights don’t last long.
We have also provided you with all the tips you can use on your solar lights to increase your life span.
Ensure the battery is fully charged, the sensor intact, and all the wires are working before buying the solar light.
Invest in good solar lights to avoid unnecessary repair costs. If you are unsure how to connect the solar rays, watch videos from the internet.
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”.