Do Solar Lights Need Direct Sunlight?

The solar lights that people usually place in their gardens, around the pool  or even alongside their driveways are a great addition to any home. They help people find your house when they’re looking for it and light the path so they are safe while walking. Solar lights also provide a touch of ambiance to your outdoor area. If you’re curious about how they work, you’re not alone. Asking yourself “do solar lights need direct sunlight?” is normal and the short answer to this question is “yes.”

do solar lights need direct sunlight
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Learning How Solar Energy Works Is Important

Solar energy is eco-friendly and a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Besides, it can save you a lot of money on your utility bill. Whether you have purchased solar panels for your roof or not, purchasing solar lights isn’t complicated and they work in the same way that the panels do. Simply put, the panels soak up the light and heat from the sun during the day, where it is then stored away until you need it. It uses a battery bank to store the energy, which is why the systems work even when it’s dark outside.

Solar lights work the same way. There will be a battery and some type of panel installed that soaks up the sun’s energy when it’s daylight so that you can enjoy them after the sun goes down. The batteries used in solar lights are usually either lead-acid or nickel-cadmium batteries. The time that it takes to fully charge the solar lights will vary depending upon which manufacturer’s product you have chosen. To learn more about the manufacturer’s specifications on the estimated charge time or how long the lights last on a charge, it is best to research them through the product website.

As far as the question “do solar lights need direct sunlight?”, the simple answer would be yes, but you may be able to use a flashlight or some other light source to charge the solar lights in certain circumstances. If you are interested in learning more about this, please check out our article asking the question, “Can Solar Panels Work With Artificial Light?” Understand that this is not an ideal situation. In fact, there are two areas that are problematic with it:

●        It is very inefficient and likely won’t produce lights that are as bright or effective.

●        It will take up to twice the amount of time to charge your solar lights this way.

In most cases, a lot of people simply don’t find this option to be worth it, which is why they instead rely on the power of the sun to get the lights ready for whatever comes next.

Benefits for using Solar Lights

There are numerous benefits in using solar lights that include:

Portable: Because these lights don’t have a reliance on power cables to run, they are able to be moved where you need them when you need them with little to no effort. This is also great for when it becomes cold and they need to be stored for the winter.

Cost-Effective: While the initial cost to purchase the lights is higher than normal wired lights, the solar lights will pay for themselves many times over time because they don’t require electricity to run.

Eco-Friendly: We have had articles on this website and it is widely known that the use of solar power reduces your carbon footprint by using a renewable energy product. Use the sun to reduce the use of our planet’s resources for producing electricity.

Little to No Maintenance: You can easily maintain solar lights because they only require the occasional check-up or cleaning during the year. The only other maintenance you may have would be in changing out the battery in the solar light.

Wide Array of Styles: Solar lights come in numerous types depending upon the use or need you have. 

Some Tips for Using Solar Lights

If you do decide to use solar lights in your driveway, pool, or garden area, you won’t regret it because these lights are both attractive and functional. They help you see where you’re going when it’s dark outside and make your outdoor area a lot more interesting to both your family and your guests. Although many solar lights last around two years on average, there are things that you can do to make them last longer, including:

●        Don’t let them get covered with snow or ice because this could affect their ability to maintain a charge. The reason is that most solar lights have solar panels on top of the lights.

●        It’s best to take them inside when it gets too cold outside because this can reduce the life of the battery.

●        Check your lights and your solar panels every few months to make sure that they are still clean enough to receive and store power.

●        If your lights don’t provide a minimum of eight hours of illumination, check your battery because it may need to be replaced.

●        If you experience long periods of cloudiness or rain, go ahead and turn off the switch to the lights to make them more efficient.


Even though on paper, you can use other light sources besides the sun to charge your solar lights, it is usually more trouble than it’s worth, which is why most people don’t choose this route. If you leave the lights outside all day and night, you should be able to garner enough energy from the sun each day to make sure that you get the power you need.

Keep in mind that both direct and indirect sunlight will work on solar lights. Essentially, they are getting the juice they need 24 hours a day because even the moon and stars provide them with some power. Direct sunlight, however, is faster, is more efficient, and produces better and more powerful results than choosing artificial light or relying on indirect sun and light sources only.

James Adams

Just a geek with a passion for saving the planet with solar technology...Or at least my little corner of it. Researching tech is something I really enjoy doing so my joy became this website. Hope you enjoy the content!

Leave a Comment

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This