Troubleshooting Tips: What to Do When Solar Lights Don’t Work

Jeff Wilkins
October 14, 2019

No matter how great a technology is, it’s almost inevitable not to encounter a bit of a problem, difficulty, or complication. Sometimes, you will make a purchase of a material that’s in very good condition but the next thing you’ll know, it has stopped working. Solar street lights are no different. You get completely sold out for the further developed solar-powered lighting system, with activated photovoltaic cells, converting the sun’s heat energy into electricity. But then, you suddenly encounter a nuisance.

Don’t freak out. Maybe all you need are some tips to get you through the situation. Most of the problems that you will and have encountered already have respective solutions. Exceptions would involve the help and assistance of a technician or an engineer.

Here are some troubleshooting tips that you should do when your solar street lamps don’t work

Take a look at its power.

Because we often overlook the little and simplest things, let’s go for the basic step first. If your solar units have a power button, then check if your device is turned on (it should be). If it doesn’t have, always remember that the solar lights automatically turn on when the darkness of the night dominates the surroundings.

Check the battery’s ‘pull tab’

You might be quite familiar with this, as batteries do commonly come with a pull tab. As for the solar street lights, see if the battery has one because most of the time they do. If yes, pull it, remove it completely from the battery. After that, you will have your lights functioning well already.

Simulate darkness (when troubleshooting at daytime).

Solar street lights do not work in daylight. They recharge during the day but only turn on and shed illumination during the night. To check if your solar device is working (at daytime), try to cover the solar panel so the sensors will detect the absence of light and will be given a hint of a need for light. If it does function, then your solar lights are not dysfunctional. They just don’t operate yet because the night time has not come yet!

Clean the solar panel.

The solar panels are the most sensitive component of the solar street lights. Their nature encompasses the need for being exposed to the sunlight and recharging the batteries through the photovoltaic cells’ act of trapping the light. When the solar panels are filled with other unwelcome particles such as dust, dirt, snow, etc., the sensors as well as the PV cells will not be able to perform their tasks.

Get a clean towel, soak it in soapy water, wipe off the dust particles or any other scraps of dirt present on the solar panels to make it clean and free from obstruction. Once you do, sunlight will no longer be impeded in pervading the solar panels.

Try repositioning the solar panels.

Most of the time, we don’t notice whether the solar street lamps are directly receiving the sunlight because it’s just too bright around. But this is one of the most important things to keep in mind. Solar street lights need sunlight, above all else, and they must be really exposed under the sun.

When you think your solar units are not working or not performing well, you can try to reposition them. There is a possibility that they are only not obtaining the right amount of sunlight that they need in order to operate excellently. Avoid shades, shadows of other things around, and keep it free from any impediment.

Replace the batteries.

If you already own the solar lights for 2 years or more, consider doing this step. Faulty batteries result in faulty performance of the solar lamps. Try to ask help from a technician or somebody who is knowledgeable in changing the batteries, and have them do it for you. Normally, batteries last for 2 years. So, they possibly don’t hold a charge anymore; that’s why they are dysfunctional.

Go get some regular batteries, check which set of batteries works. Also, you can read some solar-powered light instructions.

Try the ‘deep charge’ technique.

What is the ‘deep charge’ technique? Here’s what you will do: turn the entire thing off. Switch the solar lights off. Do not turn it on unless it gets exposed under the sun for 72 hours. The deep charge technique means you will not use the solar unit, but you will allow it to receive plenty of sunlight for a couple of days. And yes, the batteries still recharge through the solar panels even when the device is switched off.

If the sun is nowhere to be found, here are some ways on how to charge the solar lights without the sun.

If none of these tips work, contact the manufacturer.

Nobody else will know the solar devices better than the company that fabricated them. Find a way to reach out to the retailer, tell them what the current situation of the solar lights is, and ask for further troubleshooting tips. Again, if those tips still don’t get the lights working, ask them to send a technician that will examine the condition of the lamps.

Make sure that the warranty for the purchase can still accommodate the inconvenience. Manufacturers often give a 1-year warranty to their clients, offering free maintenance and service.


Sometimes, all we need to do is to get educated about how to fix any solar light problem. Read, watch videos, do your research in order to help in resolving your trouble. You can also consider inquiring and asking help from a professional in addressing your concern about your solar devices. We hope this article has helped and would help you anytime that you will need these troubleshooting tips. Good luck!

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