Solar lights are supposed to be a long-lasting solution to lighting. After all, solar lights are powered by the sun so there is no reason besides being actually broken that your solar lights should stop working.

Nevertheless, you walk outside or walk into a room that is lit by solar-powered lights and BAM! You are met with darkness. What happened? You know it was sunny all day. Nothing looks broken. What is going on?

First, calm down. The sun didn’t stop producing energy. The world as you know it is not changing the rules on you. It is OK.

Here are the most common reasons these lights konk out and how to fix solar lights:

Solar lights often run on batteries, or else the energy the sun collects would be used immediately and wouldn’t do any good when you actually need your solar lights… you know, like when it’s dark.

To further help the light from expelling energy unnecessarily, there is sometimes an on and off switch which activates the batteries making the light come on. If that switch is in the off position, your solar lights will not work.

So, this is the first thing you should check when you are troubleshooting your solar lights. If this happens to be the issue, simply flip the switch on and keep the secret between you and your now gloriously illuminated solar light.

Batteries are Dead

When it comes to solar lights, many people don’t think about having to recharge batteries but many solar-powered items have a battery installed. The batteries are solar and it is the batteries that power the solar light. (That is why solar lights also work at night.) Making this even more difficult, though, is because those batteries are rechargeable so it usually takes up to two years before you ever have to check the batteries.

So, before you go too crazy, try changing out the batteries with new rechargeable batteries. If this is the problem, you will likely be good to go for another two years.

Your Solar Lights Are Dirty

Dirty solar lights are an easy fix but if you don’t know that dirtiness can make your solar lights stop working, you might not realize this is the issue. However, to collect solar power, the sun’s rays need to have a straight shot to the tiny solar panel usually on top of the solar light fixture. If this is blocked by anything from shade to dirt, your solar lights will not work. 

An issue that makes this difficult is that many solar lights are outside. That means that they are subjected to much more dirt and debris than inside lights. Thus, they need to be cleaned more thoroughly and frequently.

Thankfully, if you recognize this is the issue it is usually simple to clean outside lights and the moment the sun’s rays can reach the solar panel again, your solar lights will start to charge.

Move Your Solar Lights

Solar lights need a certain amount of solar power to charge throughout the day. This means that solar lights should be placed in a spot in your yard that gets a lot of sunlight throughout the day. This can be trickier than you might have thought, as sometimes the spots you want your solar lights are not the areas where you can benefit from the right amount of sunlight. Therefore, you might need to get creative in your solar light landscaping.

The best thing you can do is point all your solar lights in the true south direction if you live in the northern hemisphere and true north if you live in the southern hemisphere. 

Be aware though that the South direction your compass provides is only the magnetic south, not the true south. The easiest way to find true south is to find your local solar noon and check the upright shadow of an object in your yard at that time.

Even though this might take a little time, to get the best performance out of your solar lights it makes sense to find the sunniest part of your yard, and finding true south is the easiest way to accomplish that. Once you’ve found this area of your yard, place your solar lights as close to this area as possible, and see if that is the way to fix your solar lights.

If the true south portion of your home is not anywhere near where you want or need your solar lights, you can always move them into the true south area during the day and put them where you want them at night.

In summation, most of the solutions of how to fix solar lights aren’t difficult. Although, the trial and error involved can be frustrating especially if you do not know what to look for. Thankfully, once you understand the ins and outs of solar lights you can quickly learn how to fix solar lights. Usually, all you need are some patience and occasionally a few fresh rechargeable batteries.